Talmud this Shabbat: A House of God at a Time of Plague

What should the role of our synagogue be at this time of plague?

Of course we must attend to health and safety first and foremost. Hence the emails yesterday making the hard but necessary decision to go on-line.

But physical health is not our only concern. How do we attend to our spiritual welfare? How do we nurture our heart and soul, and the hearts and souls of others, when we must be physically distant?

Tomorrow morning I will be having a conversation with Michelle, Aliza, Elias and Dan on the spiritual dimension of the Coronavirus. How do we hold onto our optimism, our hope, our faith in the face of this assault which overturns all of our lives as we know it? What works for them?

I will teach the powerful Haftarah (for Parshat B’har) from Jeremiah 32, a copy of which is attached. Jeremiah writes in a season of utter and consuming darkness. He is in jail—incarcerated for speaking truth to power. The Babylonians are coming to destroy the First Temple. Personal darkness. Communal darkness. National darkness. The opposite of hope. The opposite of faith. The opposite of light. What does he do? From his jail cell, he arranges to buy real estate in Jerusalem. “Houses, fields, and vineyards shall again be purchased in this land.” (32:15)

That is the deed he does. But what does he feel? After he arranges to purchase Jerusalem real estate, he prays to God, the second part of the Haftarah. His faith is suffused with doubt. The end of the Haftarah is a question. Is there a God in charge of all this?

How do we act with faith, even when we feel doubt?

Click here to view the attachment.

Please join us only by livestreaming this class HERE.

Together we will get through this.

Shabbat shalom,