Rabbi Matalon: Reaching out to others, in spite of our forced isolation

Rabbi Jose Rolando Matalon on Passover
Rabbi Jose Rolando Matalon on Passover 01:47

This week, Jews around the world are celebrating the sacred holiday of Passover, which commemorates the liberation of our ancestors from slavery and oppression in ancient Egypt.  

Egypt is called "Mitzrayim" in Hebrew, which means the narrow place, the place of constriction and confinement.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, millions and millions of us around the world now find ourselves in a "narrow place." We are confined, afraid and anguished in the face of this deadly disease.

The Torah tells us that right before our ancestors left Egypt, families and neighbors came together in the dark of night to share the sacrificial Paschal lamb. They all came out of their isolation and self-centeredness and they experienced the power of loving community, which is what we relive each year at the Passover Seder table.

Today, for all of us, Jewish or not, there is an important call here. In spite of our forced isolation, it is a time for us to extend ourselves, to reach out in solidarity and care for one another, to do whatever we can to see that healing and liberation will come to us soon.

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Workers hand out bags of food during a food distribution event, April 1, 2020, in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. The event was supported by the city, Ark of the City, and Farm Share.  Wilfredo Lee/AP

And when we are liberated, when we return to the streets, to our workplaces, and to one another, I pray it be with a new appreciation and awareness for just how extraordinary "normal life" is, with greater appreciation for the blessing of our extended families, our friends, and our neighbors.  

I hope this happens soon for all of us, in safety and in health.

Happy holidays!

       
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Story produced by Robin Sanders and Julie Kracov. Editor: Chad Cardin.

        
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