Chag sameach everyone, I hope you all have a freilech, a joyous Seder and Pesach.

Even as some of us may be scrubbing corners of cupboards and thinking about menus for the coming week, I have suggested that this is also a time for us to take a spiritual inventory, an opportunity for cleaning out the inner shmutz that may have collected over this past year.

As I write these words, I am only too aware, as are many of us, of the terrible destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Notre Dame with her flying buttresses and beautiful rose windows epitomized for many Catholics and non-Catholics alike the capacity of the human soul and human hands to build a vision of their faith. Yet it burned. As did the Temple in Jerusalem two millennia ago.

Smelling and tasting the acrid air as Jerusalem burned, Rabbi Yochanan was asked by Rabbi Joshua, Oiy lanu, what will become of us now? Rabbi Yochanan, citing the prophet Hosea, answered that God did not want our sacrifices but our acts of lovingkindness.

Watching the flames engulf that iconic spire of Notre Dame Cathedral, I could only think that buildings decay and die, even as human lives end. What is truly important to God, and to each of us, is not our edifices, but that we act with honesty, with compassion and with loving kindness.

During the coming week of Passover perhaps each of us could cross over that inner Yam Suf, that Sea of Reeds that can entangle us and limit us. During Hannukah we light candles every day building the number of candles from one to eight. During Pesach, maybe we could light our inner candles, building from one soul-flame to eight. With that growing light, may we each bring many small acts of loving kindness to our Kolot Mayim community and beyond.

Shabbat shalom. Chag sameach.