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The Tree of Life

It is the Tree of life to all who hold fast to it and all of its supporters are happy,” (Proverbs 3:17). 

This week the Jewish community celebrates Tu B'shevat, the new year of the trees. For this holiday, we honor nature, trees, and the fruit they give us. Also, this last week, in the Torah, the Hebrew bible we have the last of the ten plagues, and in this part of the story, it says, God, hardened Pharaoh's heart. I read this as God hardened Pharaoh's heart since the intention was already there for his heart to be hardened. 

I think we often let so many things get in our way of connecting with others. Ultimately, our own selves, our own hardening of our hearts, get in our way of connecting most true to ourselves and, ultimately, others. I invite us to work on opening our hearts for inner exploration and further connection with others. 

I lift up the words of Amanda Gorman, our first youth poet laureate, "And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us/ but what stands before us/We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,/we must first put our differences aside/ We lay down our arms/so we can reach out our arms/ to one another."

My blessings for this week is that we like trees rooted in the earth are grounded in tradition, in those who have come before us. May we be grounded in an inner connection to ourselves and, like the tree's branches, reach towards the skies, reaching out towards others, and a future of hope and unity.

--Cantor Lilah Sugarman


Fri, September 24 2021 18 Tishrei 5782