Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum's Yom Kippur Sermon, entitled "The Delta of Change... and Possibility (Gam Zeh Yaavor)" is available to listen to or read.
This week, we begin reading a new book: Exodus / Shemot. The first chapter of Exodus is a veritable character study of Pharaoh. We meet Pharaoh in verse 8 and learn that he "knew not Joseph"... in other words, he is different than the pharaohs who have come before him. In verses 9 and 10, we hear Pharaoh's ego and fear come through from behind the text, and we witness how he manipulates through words as he tries to convince his people that the Israelites are a threat. We see how his Egyptian "base" takes up his cause in verses 13 and 14, transforming into oppressors themselves, and ruthlessly imposing upon the Israelites various labors and embittering their lives. And finally, we see Pharaoh's violent tendencies escalate -- from a place of fear yet again -- as he commands first that all baby boys be killed in private as soon as they are born (verse 15), and then, when that plan fails, that his people murder Israelite babies by drowning them publicly in the Nile River (verse 22).
As 2020 draws to a close, I’m sure many of us have been reflecting on some variant of the question: what will we carry forward with us from this year?
Last month, for my birthday, my husband bought me a new cell phone. It's a big step up for the one I've been using for many years, which didn't hold a charge well and had cracks in the screen patched with scotch tape. This new phone is fast and bright, but the most amazing feature to me is its facial recognition ability -- that is, it unlocks automatically when I'm looking directly into it and it can "see" my face.