Parashat Sh’mot

Friday, January 8, 2021/24 Tevet, 5781
Parashat Sh’mot Exodus 1:1–6:1

Dear Friends,

Some weeks beg for Shabbat; this is one of them.

I am just beginning to process the violent insurrection in our nation’s capital two days ago. Like many of you, I anticipated that Wednesday would be an inflammatory and challenging day for our country. It was far worse than I could have imagined. We won’t soon get the images out of our minds of armed domestic terrorists rampaging through the Capitol building wearing white supremacist clothing and carrying a confederate flag. And we shouldn’t. It is imperative that we do not write off Wednesday’s events as an anomaly. They are the unfortunate consequences of the divisive, incendiary rhetoric that has been dismantling the fabric of our democracy for years. They put on display the racism and hatred that has become all too normative. In the name of patriotism, at the urgency of our president, these white supremacists disrupted a democratic process. Nothing about that is normal.

However, I was inspired by the determination of Senators and Congress people, who, despite everything, confirmed our newly elected president that very day. This action demonstrated that our nation could be stronger than the hatred that divides us.

Ever since Wednesday morning, I have been looking forward to Shabbat even more than usual. When turmoil erupts, I long to gather with the community in prayer and hope. Tonight, we will come together not as democrats or republicans but as Americans, Jews, and community members. May the teachings of our week’s Torah portion, the music and prayer filled-words of our tradition give us healing and hope. Tonight, may we uplift one another, and may we be inspired to do our part to create a more honest, peaceful, and just world.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Cassi Kail