While last week's Torah reading (year 2 triennial) began with the idea of abundance and plenty – enough in the sense of satiety, this week's reading begins with the idea of “whoa, that's a lot.” (Gen 45:28)
The Hebrew word rav can mean many things – much, many, great, exceeding, and also chief, captain, and in the context of the early Babylonian diaspora, “rabbi.”
As a matter of fact, I was asked to read the poem Shalom Rav by t.r.h. blue at a gathering at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound this past Sunday. I dad-joked that it was fitting for me to read because sometimes a rabbi can be a lot.
In the context of this week's Torah reading (spoilers ahead), Israel (aka Jacob) finds out that his favorite son Joseph indeed is alive. He exclaims “Rav!” as though this (excellent) news is simply too much to handle. It is overwhelming.
My sense is we all have experienced news that was indeed too much these last dozen weeks. From the moment I found out about Hamas’ attack, Hayim's kidnapping, Hayim's death, and Israel's retaliation, all within the first week, I have been struck with overwhelm weekly if not multiple times a day.
And while a ceasefire has never been more important than now (and it has always been essential and paramount), I have come close to hitting my capacity for it all. In a word: rav.
And so I do not stop. But I do pause. Today is the first day of a long needed prolonged rest for me and Kadima staff with the office closed next week to allow for recuperation.
You will still receive a few emails from us next week that will be scheduled to invite your participation and sharing of our End of Gregorian Year fundraising campaign. It matters that we do this now. You matter. We matter. Kadima matters.
As Kadima takes a needed break this coming week, we ask you to do the same. So many of us have been doing more than we expected this fall to protect and honor the sanctity of life. Let us now prioritize our own. Care for yourself and one another. Give and receive care from others. Get closer to recovering such that in January – in Shvat – we can replenish the potential energy stored within, ready for new growth ahead.