Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day Six: Y’sod b’Chesed

by Rabbi Judy Weiss

Y’sod: loyalty stemming from connection and communication

MidrashRabbi Yohanan once asked his students to describe the appearance of the walls of the Red Sea when the waters parted for the children of Israel to cross. When none could do so, Rabbi Yohanan described them as resembling a window lattice. Then, all at once, they heard a voice say: “No, it was not like that at all!” And when they looked up, they saw the face of a very old woman peering in the window of the house of study. “Who are you?” demanded Rabbi Yohanan. “I am Serah bat Asher,” came the reply, “and I know exactly what the walls resembled. I was there, I crossed the Red Sea—and they resembled shining mirrors, mirrors in which every man, woman and child was reflected, so that it seemed like an even greater multitude crossed there, not only those of the present, but also those of the past and future as well.” And when Serah had finished speaking, none dared contradict her, for her knowledge was firsthand. (See Jill Hammer, Omer Calendar of Biblical Women, 2012, page 13, translation by Howard Schwartz, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, 2004, paragraph 486.)

Question: How does seeing a scene through window lattices rather than with mirrors change one’s sense of connection? At Passover seder we reflect ourselves back in time to the original Exodus, and we mirror them forward into our time. How do the mirrors increase our sense of connection, compassion and loyalty?

Climate Change: will lead to massive resettlement due to rising seas in some locales and drought and lack of food in other regions.

Research “Migration with Dignity” by reading about the Island Nation of Kirbati (thought to be the first nation to lose its home to rising seas) and their climate change plans forresettlement. They have bought land in Fiji to resettle their nation of more than 100,000 people and attempt to maintain a sense of community and connection even as they leave their homeland.

Also read Thomas Friedman on Syria, more than 1,000,000 Syrian farmers, herders and their families refugees from the land, and climate change, and relief work here.

Action: In January 2014, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof asked his readers what news topic did they think was inadequately covered. Readers responded to his question with a clear communication: CLIMATE CHANGE. So Kristof will be writing frequently this year about Climate change. Here is his first article announcing the winning (or losing) topic. Can you and your friends and family use your network of connections to help all of Kristof’s climate change articles go viral?

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