Let’s continue our discussion of Community.
There are two teachings from our tradition that guide us on this topic.
The first is: Al tifros mei-hatzibur – Don’t separate from the community.
This is a statement about the importance of being of a Jewish community and not isolating ourselves.
This commandment teaches us that everyone counts.
That every voice, every person’s presence makes a difference and we don’t want to be missing anyone.
There are certain prayers like Mourner’s Kaddish that require a minyan – a gathering of 10 people to be said.
Why? To show that especially at times of loss and sadness that we are not alone.
The purpose of belonging to a community is so that we don’t have to carry these burdens alone.
The other teaching that is essential on the topic of community is: Kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh –
All Israel is responsible for one another.
That means, not only are we expected to be part of the community, but we are expected to care and care for each other.
Our well-being depends on all of us taking an interest and a responsibility for each other.
These Jewish ideas and values are very much with us as we go through life in this Covid world.
Even though we are separate, we don’t succumb to the temptation to fully separate from the community.
We are still needed and important to our communities and we need that connection for our own strength and health.
And we’ve learned very well that are ways to connect even while staying distanced.
Don’t stray from the community is an important commandment especially at this time of uncertainty.
In this new reality, we’ve also seen the wisdom of the Jewish teaching- we are all responsible for one another.
How true. Our health and safely literally depend on each other.
I pray as we go into this new month and this new year together, that this meaningful Jewish practice of being part of community, of giving and receiving within the Jewish community, provide you with strength and hope for a better new year.