Op-eds

Reframe our experience

  • Howard Feldman 2018
Remember the time when we left Egypt because G-d saved us with all those plagues? Back then we weren’t much of a nation, but after leaving in the middle of the night and getting to the Red Sea, it started to look pretty bad for our people.
by HOWARD FELDMAN | Sep 10, 2020

The Egyptians were really upset about the whole situation and decided to punish us for leaving. They were angry and we could see that they were gaining fast. It was only because of a miracle when the sea in front of us split the way that it did, that we managed to get across to safety.

What followed was equally miraculous. The Ten Commandments were given in what could only be described as a spectacular event. In the meantime, there were clouds to protect us from the elements, water was provided, and food fell from the sky each day just when we needed it. Even if you don’t consider where we had just come from, it was quite something.

And then, for whatever reason, we started to complain. We claimed that we were bored, and that the menu was repetitive. We remembered the “fleshpots” in Egypt, and we complained even more. We seemed to forget just how bad it was. We forgot the pain, the struggles, the cruelty, and just like that we forgot the miracles that had led us to where we were.

It was pretty embarrassing if you think about it.

Almost like it is today when we complain that the shul services over Rosh Hashanah won’t be what we would like them to be. The rules are that they cannot be more than two hours, that we have to bring our own siddurim and everything else that we need. We cannot sing aloud (not always a bad thing). and we will not be able to congregate.

We seem to forget that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic. It doesn’t seem to be relevant that over Pesach, when this all began, there was no shul and no going out. We were not allowed to see family and there was no option at all about prayer services. Shavuot was pretty much the same, as has been every Shabbat and every day since March.

We seem to forget how many people our small community has lost to the disease, and we definitely are not remembering to be grateful. Truth is, it could have been so much worse. Honestly, we need to get a grip. We need to be grateful that shuls are going to be operating for Rosh Hashanah, and even though the situation is far from perfect, it is way better than where we were months ago when we had zero option of attending a shul service.

Instead of lamenting the fact that shul on Rosh Hashanah won’t be as we would like it to be, let’s rather try and focus on how wonderful it is that we have come this far. And that at least we have some options.

Not everyone will be able to attend services, which means that those who can should rejoice in the privilege of what it means to be part of the community in prayer.

We need to reframe the experience. Be grateful for the privilege. And quit complaining. Honestly. It’s actually embarrassing.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Wendy Kaplan Lewis 10 Sep
    Outstanding brilliant article

Comment

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