|Mountains of Curses, Mountains of Blessings, and Gold Medals|
This week the news of the Delta variant has cast a dark shadow on our lives. Our Torah portion is called Re’eh. In Hebrew Re’eh, means to see, but it is not just about sight, it is about insight. Re’eh is about seeing the bigger picture of life. Re’eh is about developing a spiritual vision that sees beyond the shadows, to the source of light. Re’eh is a Jewish value akin to the Indian concept of the “Third Eye,” that leads to higher consciousness and enlightenment.
Last year when Covid cast its shadow they cancelled the Olympics. We are not cancelling the High Holy Days. We will great the new Jewish Year together. You will have choices. You may choose to join us in- person at Caramoor, or you can join us virtually by live-stream. Either way, the music of Rabbi MJ Newman will be uplifting and inspiring The High Holy Days are our people’s ancient medicine to help us heal from the bruising of the past year. They also provide an essential does of hope and renewal of spirit. You can do your part, by getting vaccinated if you have not done so already. Saving a life, Pikuach Nefesh, is a supreme Jewish value. Make no mistake, vaccination is a Mitzvah!
This week’s parsha, (Torah portion,) describes mountains of curses and blessings. This past year we have endured the curses of a pandemic, increased anti-Semitism, and national turmoil. Re’eh asks us to see with a wider vision.
Have you been watching the Olympics? This is the largest Olympics ever with 206 counties and more than 11,000 athletes. The “Olympic spirit” looks like a sentence in our Torah. The Olympic Spirit is “to build a peaceful and better world of mutual understanding, friendship, solidarity and tolerance in these increasingly troubled times in which we live, to make our world a more peaceful place.” During the opening ceremonies of this Olympics, a 49-year wrong was finally corrected, with a memorial ceremony honoring the Israeli athlete victims of the Munich Olympic massacre in 1972. This week, Artem Dolgopyat, who arrived in Israel as a 12-year-old refugee from Ukraine, 12 years later has won a Gold medal in gymnastics. Israel’s 2nd Olympic gold medal ever. This Olympics brought us an Israeli baseball team which showed the world that baseball can go beyond hotdogs and apple-pie. Baseball can be also enjoyed with falafel and humus!
Re’eh ask us to look upward to the mountain of blessings. The Olympics games originated at Mount Olympus. The 2021 Olympic Games is like the mountain of blessings in this week’s Torah portion.
May we be inspired by the Olympic spirit of friendship and cooperation among these young athletes. The true gold medal winners are all of us when we open our eyes to see beyond the shadows of curses to the light of human cooperation and partnership. May we merit to truly see, to truly “Re’eh,” humanity basking in a display of genuine tolerance and understanding. That would be a spiritual Olympian win for all humanity.
Rabbi David Wilfond