What a Difference a Couple of Months Makes
I checked the exact date I sent my first new post on Facebook. It was December 19, 2019, roughly three months ago. Before that, I had not been on Facebook for over six years. After being on the platform almost from its beginning, I had come to disdain Facebook for many reasons. The past winter, I was “encouraged” to hop back on to help promote MKT and engage with members of the shul and the greater community. I was admittedly very reluctant at first but have since adjusted my attitude. Over the past week and a half, I have come to realize just how important social media can be in a time like this. To be honest, I cannot imagine what life would be like for me and my family without the ability to reach out and connect the way we are doing on social media.
Seeing peoples’ postings of their pictures, videos, memes, comments and observations help assure me that we are not spiritually alone even if we are physically alone. I feel for some of our folks who are isolated and who are not on social media. It behooves us to check in on those folks over the phone or even in person, at a distance.
This shabbat we will start a new book of the Torah, Vayikra or Leviticus. We read of the beginning of the laws of the offerings that the Israelites were to bring in the Temple. We often refer to the offerings as “sacrifices.” We call them sacrifices because in each case the Israelites are giving something of themselves over to the tabernacle and then later the Temple in Jerusalem. What they gave as an offering had to come from their choicest flock, their best flour, and their finest oil.
Today we find ourselves making great sacrifices, including sheltering in our homes and maintaining social distancing. Though we may not be ill, we are giving up our normal daily lives to make sure others don’t get ill and we help to stop the spread of the virus. We are giving up vacations, meals out, parties and celebrations.
The lesson from Vayikra is that we do these things for what we believe to be for the benefit of the world around us. This shabbat let us spend time focusing on all the good that we are doing; the sacrifices we are making; the part we are playing in make our world a better place.
Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel has been Midbar Kodesh Temple's spiritual leader since August 2008. Rabbi Tecktiel was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May of 1996. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one from List College and one from Columbia University. He also holds a Masters of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
You can follow him on Twitter @RabbiMKT.