May 6-7, 2022 Parashat Kedoshim
6 Iyyar 5782
Passover is behind us, but we cannot forget its imperative to remember that we were once strangers in a strange land. In fact, it is not only on Passover but all year long that we are told to remember this. We recall the Exodus in our Friday night Kiddush and in several pieces of our Shabbat and weekday liturgy (think V’ahavta and Mi Chamocha). In this week’s Torah portion, we are again reminded that we were strangers in another land. Why is it so important that we remember this critical piece of our history?
Leviticus 19:18 instructs: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” A few verses later (19:34), we are commanded: ”Love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Our history as strangers inspires our empathy and compassion toward others; having experienced injustice and inequality ourselves, we are obligated to advocate for justice and for fairness for others. In those moments, we might reflect on our own experiences of feeling like an outsider. Those personal experiences help us identify with the feelings of others and help us listen with more sensitivity as they express their feelings.
As we see images of refugees fleeing Ukraine in fear for their lives, we can hardly imagine their degree of fear, anxiety, and vulnerability. Few among us can relate to their experiences of terror and exile. But we can listen to and honor their stories, we can reach out with support, and we can include them in our prayers. Torah teaches us to remember that we were once strangers in order to understand the plight of the stranger. So too, we can recall our own experiences and feelings as we offer refugees understanding, respect, and love.
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Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations in the Synagogue (masks required)
or on Channel 1960
Friday at 5:15 PM: Shabbat Blessings in the Dining Room
Friday at 6:30 PM: Shabbat Birthday Service with Rabbi Sherman & Cantor Shikler
Saturday at 10:00 AM: Shabbat Morning Service followed by Blessings in the Dining Room
Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 7:20 PM
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:19 PM
Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Sherman