As we stand at the precipice of a new secular year, much seems the same as it did last year at this moment. At this stage in the pandemic, many of us had moved past the 'sourdough and knitting phase' and life had hit a 'new normal', only for this most recent surge to newly upset our routines.
In the midst of the plagues, which we read this week, Moses asks Pharoah when he should end the plague of frogs. One would think that Pharoah would answer, "Right away!" but instead, we find a curious response: מחר machar tomorrow.
While the traditional commentators explain this in the context of the negotiations over the freedom of the Jewish people, one of the first Reform rabbis, Michaelis Machol, reads this 'Tomorrow' as a word which we often say in our lives. In 1902, Rabbi Machol says that we often differ until tomorrow the dreams of today, thinking that something might change to make our path from here to there a little easier. He writes:
The thought of the future incites our energy, stirs up our ambition, inflames our enthusiasm, and surrounds our whole life with the indispensable radiance of hope. - But very often the future robs us of the present. Occupied with scattering the seeds for the days to come, we often forget to make sure of the harvest which has been prepared for us by ages past; and in the anxious endeavor to provide for old age, we frequently neglect to draw the proper enjoyment from the summer and the autumn of life. (Exodus, IX. Vaayrah. January 24. 1903. Bo. January 14. 1905., AJA, SC-7595)
Instead of pushing off our list of dreams for when the pandemic ends and when things might become easier, we need the courage to start tackling them today. One way of gathering that courage is through feeling the strength of other brave people around you. What new journey would you have the courage to attempt, if only you knew there was a community around you on the same path?
As I begin walking with this community, I hope you will make yourself known to me, and we can get to know one-another better, in person and over zoom. Looking forward to meeting you all soon!