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Parashat Chayei Sara

November 10, 2023
27 Cheshvan 5784
Genesis 23:1 - 25:18

Dear Friends,

Today is Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. Right now, so many of us feel broken, not sure how to go forward. The amount of information coming our way and our ability to assimilate it has left many of us unmoored.

With that in mind I invite you to be part of our caring community, a community that gives a damn about each of you as we travel an unfamiliar road together. There is no map. It may remind some of previous journeys, but it is new, and the contours are different and so is the world in which we live. 

The rapid pace can seem overwhelming. How do we proceed at this moment? Yes, there is reason to be concerned, even frightened. But where does that leave us? I believe sitting in the darkness is no solution.We may feel hopeless in this moment to change the course of events, but together we can create some light in the darkness.

This week people gathered at Manhattan College for conversation at a Breaking Bread event convened by Dr. Mehnaz Afridi and the ADL. We were a diverse group in the room. What we did in that room was to listen to one another - not a simple task at this moment and yet so important. 

This past Sunday we recorded our most recent Tehillah Talks with our amazing young people. The episode is called “How our tradition has taught us to listen.” Indeed, we come from a tradition where diverse opinions fly off of a page of Talmud, often with no clear conclusion. We find ourselves in a moment where taking a collective deep breath or two might prove helpful. I invite you to listen to the episode; I think we all agree that really listening to someone else can be quite challenging.

As we read Parshat Chaya Sarah (the life of Sarah) (Genesis 23:1- 25:18) we are told of the death of Sarah, her burial, and ultimately Abraham’s death as well, and in between it all the marriage of Isaac to Rebecca. Once more I am struck by Abraham’s ability to listen best to those outside of his immediate circle as he negotiates for a cave in which to bury Sarah. In the negotiation, he reads and understands beyond the words of those with whom he is negotiating, to understand what is expected of him. It is quite an impressive skill. 

As we welcome Shabbat this week, may we find it within ourselves to let go of the week. May we acknowledge the blessings that we experienced during the past week, hard though they may be to articulate. 

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784