Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto

Message from the Rabbi

February 5, 2021

It’s hard to believe that we are coming up on Purim, which will mark one Jewish year since the pandemic called a halt to our public life. Some days, it feels like we have been in this situation forever. However, we have not been. Our tradition teaches us to take a long view of our life. If we are still remembering and reliving ancient stories, we can certainly stick to our principles as we live this narrative for the first time. In that spirit, consider this modern take on some of the key mitzvot of Purim:
  1. Hearing the reading of the Megillah: We need to hear the real story of this time. The most vulnerable are being most powerfully affected. The amount of domestic violence and spouse abuse has gone up significantly. We need to do everything we can to bring this time of isolation to an end more quickly including observing social distancing and practicing mask hygiene strictly.
  2. Gifts to those in need (matanot l’evyonim): Need is not always easy to see or measure. So many of us lack the resources we had when this difficult time began. As one member taught me: We are not all in the same boat; we are weathering the same storm. We must do more for those who are stuck in a rowboat as they face this wave. Help and vaccinations must be available to those in greatest need first.
  3. Sending packages to friends (mishloach manot): We traditionally send food and gift baskets to friends. This is not a response to need but the desire for connection. Connection is more important now than ever. Please take some time in the days ahead to reach out to someone you have not been able to spend time with. See their face on a screen or talk on the phone. Find a way to give a gift of time and presence to them. Doing this gives even more back to the one who makes an effort.
Wishing all of you a joyous Adar when the month in which Purim falls begins on Saturday, February 13th, as the traditional saying goes, Mishenichnas Adar, Marbim b’simchah. Once Adar starts, seek out joy. May we find much pleasure and blessing in these unusual Adar days ahead.