Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto

Message from the Rabbi

March 4, 2021

A year ago, we had to close down our activities between our family Purim program and our adult Purim celebration. If you had told me that we would still be virtual for Purim this year, I would not have believed it. Yet, the most we could do last week was our CAR-Nival, participating in festivities in our parking lot and pleased just to be out safely and to see others if only through the car windows. In 5780, the time between Purim and Passover was a blur, as we tried desperately to recalibrate our community life to an online format. This year, we are looking forward to Pesach, including our second annual, online Second Night Seder. The Ensemble Choir will be joining Cantor Osborne and me as we look to build on the energy of last year’s event.

Our tradition teaches us that we should prepare for Passover by learning, cleaning and reflecting for the thirty days prior. On our daily Sinai Streams offering, Boker Tov, we have already begun to learn and relearn about Pesach. I hope this year, along with traditional studies, we can reconsider the reality of freedom in our lives. I hear many of us, including myself, recalling the freedoms we have lost. Hugging those we don’t share a roof with or having a casual chat while shopping are two among many. Yet, I hope we have learned about so many new freedoms.

We can make time to learn. Many people have told me how they have connected through online programs to new perspectives and ideas, both through our Temple Sinai programs and far beyond them. We are free to find ways to increase our understanding of our world and ourselves.

We can experiment with new Jewish ideas and practices. On Boker Tov, there is learning and praying for us to be part of every day. We can connect to our friends and family on Shabbat and festivals without having to expose ourselves to any dangers at all.

We can find new blessings to be grateful for. We are free to reflect on and appreciate the obstacles that we have overcome in the past year. We have survived much. We can support other friends or family who are going through difficult times. We can make a simple call or send a note and be grateful to those who do the same for us.

May the preparation for Pesach this year help us avoid “passing over” the miracles and opportunities in our lives.