Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

May 3, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
no comments.

Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

They say timing is everything. This week our Torah portion opens by stating “And the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, when they drew near before the Lord, and they died.”

In a tragic and much-interpreted incident, Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Avihu died in making some type of offering to God. After suffering this catastrophic loss, the text continues to acknowledge the event and then describes the prescribed sacrifices the High Priest is to perform on Yom Kippur. The Torah suggests that these sacrifices offer expiation to the Jewish people of their sins between themselves and God.

Especially now, I find significant meaning in the connection of these two seemingly disparate subjects. One can infer that Aaron must be experiencing deep and incredible grief at losing two of his sons. It is from this place of pain, grief, anger and hurt that the Torah then then launches into Yom Kippur.

From the darkest place, God is giving directions for the High Priest and the Jewish people to come closer. There is an old saying, “there are no atheists in the foxhole.”  There could be no denying God’s existence for Moses, Aaron or the generation at Sinai yet they still could feel distant and disconnected. How much more so do we feel these emotions. Many of us, including myself, pray with greater urgency when in difficult and stressful situations. I personally find praying the thrice daily prayer services – Shacharit, Mincha or Maariv by myself to be incredibly difficult and not as fulfilling as praying with a community. Yet, in the past month, I certainly have prayed with more concentration and connection. It is from that place of pain and fear that I pray in a more profound way and it has been immensely comforting.

I do not believe that my words have the same healing power as modern medicine and doctors have. Yet, I thank God for the human intelligence and wisdom that exists within those doctors and healers. I thank God for the love and care of those around me. I feel connected to Jewish people around the world, and to my ancestors who have said the same words, I am saying. I am more connected to myself and my world.

This connection between Aaron’s loss and Yom Kippur reminds us that in our best and worst times, we have to reach out, to God and to each other. Thank you to all who are reaching out to my family.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Metz

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat