Educationally Speaking – May 2020

Seeing Seasons Change… Mostly

Racheli Morris, Director of Education

Having lived in Boston, Massachusetts and grown up in the far north of Israel on the Golan, I have had the blessing of seeing seasons change. Mostly, in Boston, after a blizzard, you come outside like you are Noah after the flood. We are all waiting to emerge from our Arks and to see the world have a new day.

Our sages have given us a magnificent liturgy to meet the many bends in our river-like lives. There are prayers said after waking up from sleep where we simply thank God for our lives. There are other prayers where we offer our thanks for surviving calamity. It is called Birkat Gomel and is said as part of a Torah service. And then, we have our beautiful Bible which offers countless prayers in the form of prose.

As we prepare for our daily prayer, the preliminary warm up is called p’suke d’zimra which means verses of song. My favorite is Psalm 150. It communicates how we musically praise God with shofarot, lyres, harps, drums, dances, organs, flutes, cymbals and trumpets. It ends with the words, All souls praise God, Halleluyah or Kol HaNishma T’ ha’ le’ luya. To me this means that the songs of our lives will continue, no matter the challenges.

As I look into these three ideas, I want to communicate that these Covid-19 events will pass. Like a spring bud, we will flourish. Our prayers, inner thoughts, and actions will get us through this calamity. The yearning for help is natural and we will do everything in our power to preserve life, continue our community and to reach towards God to strengthen ourselves so that all of our souls will praise God.

The stopping of our lives to dedicate time to engage in learning with the Torah School shows how we are pulling our community through the rapids of this river we all are in. At times, there are gentle curves and currents, sometimes, the changes are sharp and abrupt.

Here is a portion of the Shabbat Priestly Blessing that I am sharing with you in the hope that it rings true for you.

May God make you like Ephraim, Menashe, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.

May God illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious unto you.

May God turn his countenance to you and establish peace for you.

Shalom, I wish the community blessings and I appreciate each one of you.