Honor. Community. Jewish Values.

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself: A Message from Our Chaplain for this Unusual Passover and Easter Week

“At some deep level, it has become necessary for collective humanity to gain a more conscious awareness of the psychological and spiritual fact that we are all in this together… We are in a collective rite of passage that requires a wide scale awakening to the interconnectedness of all of life… This is not just the proper response to the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic; it is also the underlying message found on most spiritual paths and in many religions…”  M. Meade

And in The Holiness Code in Leviticus we read “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” So many of the problems in our world are a result of the inability of so many to take this commandment and apply it deeply on all levels of society, in our relationships with others and with the planet itself. 

And yet, this is the moment we have been waiting for! Imagine… at Passover we are told to see ourselves as slaves in Egypt at liberation time.  Imagine… We are in Mitzrayim/Egypt/a very narrow and dark place. We hear the call, as a people, to rise up together, take care of each other, and leave the narrow perspectives that keep us separate. This is the moment we have been waiting for! And yet, we don’t quite know what will happen next. The future is uncertain. A scary time. But just as with those ancient Israelites, together, with Divine and human leadership, we will face those fears, and the sea will part, and we will walk on through to a new wilderness, a new calling, a new society, a Promised Land.

This is the moment! Just as at Easter, Divine Love and redemption will return to our world after a period of bitter darkness. We will make it, if we just remember to see the face of Spirit in each other. Even in the midst of such uncertainty, G!d has not left us!  As the Psalmist writes: “For with You is the Source of Life. In Your light we see light.” (Ps. 36)

A story goes: Once upon a time, a hiker walking in the forest became lost. He wandered for hours trying to find his way back to town, but no path led out of the forest. Suddenly he came upon another hiker. “Thank goodness!” he cried. “Can you show me the way back to town?” She smiled at him and shook her head. “I too am lost,” she said. “But we can still help each other. We can tell each other the failed paths we have taken. That will help us find the one that leads out.” We know the feeling of being lost. This holy season is the perfect time to come together and find our way home again, for in truth, we are all in this together!

Please watch for other communications about resources of connection and support for Passover and Easter and beyond. Please call or email me if you would like to talk for any reason. 

May we find comfort in our traditions, history of resilience, in community and in the Spirit of All Life! May you have a liberating Passover and Easter.

L’Shalom, Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, email, 720.382.7836