We had a wonderful Shabbat morning service last week – and welcomed many of our students back from holidays and arduous work schedules. Thank you to our volunteers who help with setting up, and helping in the kitchen – you are very much welcomed and appreciated.
We are now in the Book of Shemot. The Book of Names, but more commonly known as the Book of Exodus; that book that documents the people Israel leaving Mitzrayim, Egypt, and beginning that long journey towards the land of Israel. This book is the origin of that infamous question: Are we there yet?
Last Shabbat I taught about the word חֵן chen – and how this tiny Hebrew word, just two letters, can help us understand our rituals around dying and burial and mourning more deeply. We speak of Chen, Chesed v’Rachamim, God’s capacity for grace, loving kindness and compassion and we too try to enact those qualities in death and in life. These acts are found in the everyday, small actions of loving care for each other: in doing so, we plant seeds of hope and connection with each other, even as we clean up after Kiddush.
As we read even this first chapter of Shemot however, God appears to have abandoned us to “crushing labours” –even babies were being killed by edict of Pharaoh. We then meet the infant Moshe – and his sister Miriam. Miriam ensured the infant Moses would live; Batya the daughter of Pharaoh took him in and raised him. What are we reading but acts of Chen, Chesed v’Rachamim?
May we all find ways to bring that tiny seedling of that nun sofit, (final nun) in this powerful tiny word chen, and with chen, bring acts of loving kindness and compassion into our coming week.
Much love,Rabbi Lynn