We read the Maftir for Shabbat Hachodesh this week. Near the beginning of the month of Nisan, we prepare to celebrate our deliverance from slavery during Pesach, and the establishment of our Jewish calendar. In light of the traumas which being currently experienced by our fellow b’nai enosh, children of humanity, today, let’s not be haughty and selfish about the blessings we have achieved bayamim hahem bazman hazeh, in those days at this time. Sure, we can and should celebrate the establishment of our calendar, recognize and appreciate the groundwork of our Passover observance. The biblical story, however, is not meant to be a historical anachronism. It should be a present and future imperative. If a nation of slaves, used to constantly doing their masters’ bidding, can tell time and give thanks on their own, should it not follow that they should seek out any others who are imperiled and pay it forward?
Freedom comes with a price. The cost is the necessity to pay it forward to any one and everyone who is not free. Our shul website has a list of multidenominational organizations to which you can easily donate to help Ukranian refugees. Look below for the link to donate. In addition, my beloved colleague Rabbi Ari Goldstein is going soon on a mission to Poland to provide supplies for refugees. A box to collect pain medication for children and adults, as well as vitamin C and D for children is already being filled in our shul lobby.
The blessing of Shabbat Hachodesh is that we can tell time on our terms, guided by Hashem. Let’s make the most of the gift.
Support for Ukraine - Congregation Kneseth Israel in Annapolis, Maryland
Rabbi/Hazzan David B. Sislen