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G-d of Goats!

Friday, 27 March, 2020 - 9:47 am

Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind. Those who are struggling, fighting for life itself, are in our prayers. I’ve been praying a whole lot for my father and three of his brothers who are all plagued by this dreaded disease. It’s heartwarming to see how much love and positive energy is being shared amongst neighbors, friends and the general public. There’s a lovely sense of “we are all in this together” and an inner drive to step up for those who are in need. In addition, there’s an increased feeling of deep appreciation for the selfless healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers and all those, including grocers and truckers, who are working tirelessly to keep our families fed.

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra, first in the book of Leviticus, we read about the sacrificial offerings in the Tabernacle. While there are ten Kosher animals, only three could be utilized for the holy service and of the many Kosher birds, only two, the mature turtledove and the young dove are permitted on the alter. Why? The Midrash tells us that G-d gifted us with the eternal lesson that like He, we should always stand with victims. Oxen are harassed by lions, lambs are hunted by wolves, goats are attacked by panthers and doves are constantly confronted by birds of prey. Hashem cares about all His creations but He has a warm spot for these creatures, placing them on a pedestal, so that we never forget being holy includes caring for victims.  

It is my hope, that when this plague subsides, G-d willing really soon; when we finish mourning those who perished, celebrating the lives that were spared, re-learning the art of social interaction, we will also have become a kinder, gentler, society, internalizing that which we experienced. The plague didn’t care about our political affiliation, skin color, gender, religion, nationality or even country of residence, it attacked all mercilessly. Let’s re-channel that non-discriminatory experience to treat all - yes, even those we can’t stand - with equal dignity. We can have differences, we can debate issues, but we must never mistreat another human being, never.

Seeking our fellow’s wellbeing, even if they aren’t on a ventilator!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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