This week, as our Zoom Seders become happy memories, we will stay in our homes to help “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of the covid-19 virus. But Passover continues, and instead of eating leavened bread products we indulge in matzah brie and other culinary standards of the holiday.
And this weekend, on the Shabbat during Passover, we read a special Torah portion, veering away from the normal flow of Torah readings. It’s about the moment on Mt. Sinai when Moses pleads to know God:
Moses said, “Oh, let me behold Your Presence!” And God answered, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim before you the name Lord, and the grace that I grant and the compassion that I show. But you cannot see My face, for man may not see Me and live.” Exodus 33:18-20
God carefully chooses which attributes to share with Moses. God’s name, goodness, grace, and compassion, these will be shared. But at the very moment that Moses cries out and pleads to know God’s essence, God’s face remains hidden.
Although we think we are so smart, so incredibly knowledgeable about the world around us, much remains hidden. The coronavirus has reminded us of that truth.
We are surrounded by mystery. The mystery of illness. The mystery of love. The mystery that is the Divine. And we are surrounded by the things that we cannot touch yet feel deeply; sorrow, joy, beauty, regret, memory.
In the midst of the unknown and the hidden, during a holiday in which we remember plagues and the redemption of a subjugated people, it is important to remember how much we don’t know. And one thing we don’t know is what is truly happening in each other’s lives.
But this not-knowing does not mean we don’t care, and it doesn’t mean that we are helpless. Because there is one thing everyone can do, one thing that takes such a small amount of effort, yet can have such huge results. We can be kind.
There is a saying; Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. Today, the whole world is fighting a great battle.
As we continue our Passover observances and our Christian friends and neighbors celebrate Easter, my prayer is that we remember to be kind to one another.
Each of us is fighting a great battle. Be kind.