Torah Tidbits

The Positive Power of Community featured-rabbi

Shabbat Parashat Bo

January 24, 2015 – 4 Shevat 5775

Dear Friends,

As a child, I remember my discomfort at the Torah’s narrative of the Exodus because I could not understand why the population of Egypt had to suffer the plagues just because of the stubbornness of Pharaoh.

As an adult, I realize how easy it is for myself, and for others, to become so overwhelmed with the everyday challenges of life, and so inured to the injustices of our society that we slowly drift into inaction.  We may develop a sense of helplessness and of hopelessness.  And, we may see ourselves as essentially powerless.

I believe that is what happened to the people of Egypt.  They were the silent majority.  They stood by and did not protest the enslavement of the Israelites as it continued to take its toll on our people for hundreds of years.  Sadly, not only Pharaoh, but the Egyptians too suffered when, finally, the plagues that paved the way for the Exodus came upon Egypt.

It is true that, as individuals acting on our own, we often lack power.  But, if each of us joins our individual steps to those of others, in community – the purpose and the power of our individual steps may be amplified and extended way beyond anything we could do on our own.

The Exodus narrative reminds us that although we may not be able to solve all the problems of the world immediately, we are nevertheless called upon to join together in community with people whose values we share, to repair the world, one step at a time.

Today, I read the Exodus narrative as a lesson in community and in hope.  I read the Exodus narrative as a call to action, for each of us, and for our community as a whole.

Whether it is a cause here in our area, or farther afield; whether it is a cause that is dear to us as Americans, or more particularly as Jews – we need not feel alone.  We are blessed with community.  Our lives can become more purposeful and our steps can become more powerful when we join and act in concert with one another to make this world a better place!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror