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Now I Know!

10/14/2021 04:39:38 PM


Abram and Sarai (as Abraham and Sarah were known, before they were famous), had to leave Canaan and flee to Egypt because of famine. Abram was concerned that the Egyptian Pharaoh and his followers would see Sarai and kill him so that she would be taken into Pharoah’s harem. Abram expressed his fear in a remarkable way: “Now I know that you are a beautiful woman.”  Sarai was already over 65 years old at this point, and they had been together for many years. Why is he only noticing now that his wife was a beautiful woman? 

Sometimes we only notice the value of something or someone when it is expressed by others. It begins in childhood. A toddler may totally ignore a toy until he or she sees another child wanting to play with it, and then it becomes the most important object in the room. Employers are often more interested in hiring someone who already has a job than someone who has been out of work.

Moreover, Abram's experience teaches us that sometimes we don’t appreciate the value of something until we are at the brink of losing it. Many romantic comedies follow the premise of this week’s story- a person does not appreciate a potential romantic partner who has been right before their eyes the whole time, until they are engaged to someone else.  On a more serious note, we take the most important things for granted- our family, our health, our friends, our community, until they are threatened or gone.  

This week, many in our extended community are mourning a shocking loss that took place last Friday. While the time of the Rosen family’s official connection with our congregation was limited to preschool, there are such strong strands that tie together our community across synagogues, schools and neighborhoods. Even if we know on an intellectual level that from time to time, we will encounter a loss that raise so many painful questions, for children and their parents alike, that does not make it easier to answer those questions. Rabbi Konigsburg and I are both available to support our families that are still grappling with how to process. I will gather a group in person or on zoom Tuesday night to discuss. Please let me know if you would like to join.

Tragic losses like this one, and others suffered by our community over the years, defy a glib scholarly or philosophical explanation.  However, they do remind us to act in the spirit of Abraham. We must not forget precious each life is, and not to wait until it is taken away to truly appreciate it.

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784