Connecting in a Time of Corona

Who are we when no one is watching? That is the essence of this week’s Torah portion, Achrei Mot-Kedoshim. Its essence: Love another as Yourself (Leviticus 19:18). But, what does the Golden Rule really mean, especially in a world of Social Isolation?

Quarantine has given all of us a lot of time to think about this. How do I love others? Do I holistically love myself? For those of us in Quarantine with others, we are walking through a house of mirrors. There is no hiding from our reactions, missteps, impatiences or breaking points. For those of us alone, the interiority of the experience is palpable, its novelty has worn off, and loneliness has set in. Dwelling Amongst Others or Singular in Oneself, all of us can ask:  Who have I been behind closed doors for the past 46 days?

This time is a gift for those of us who will make it out alive: we get to reconsider how we treat ourselves, our earth and one another. And each of these questions reflects our interior calibration. Kedoshim teaches us this as well: Holiness is not something outside of us; indeed, the God character in the Torah portion demands that WE be Godly. Holiness and Godliness are intrinsic to the human experience. There is no separating it out: to be alive is to be Godly; to be alive is to be Holy. As one who struggles to understand what a Concept of God is, in this form, I consider: Godliness is the Confluence of my Internal Experience of Being in Accord with my External Behaviors.

The time is upon us to cultivate this awareness. Open Temple’s offerings engage us in opportunities to do this work: cultivating mindfulness and loving-kindness. We must do this now; and even more fiercely when we re-enter this Brave, New World. Our actions will define our Republic in ways never before seen. We are being called to “make ourselves holy” so that we can emerge ready for the work before us.

Open Temple’s Zoom Shabbat weaves a tapestry of peer-groups to connect our Jew-ish curiosities with this mission. Our bodies will become conditioned for resilience in our Shal(OM) Yoga Shabbat sessions. Our Path to Authenticity will be paved through Mussar and Mindfulness. A parental Soul Break is offered for us mid-week to mitigate madness and promote humor. And while there is more (see below), we will lead the way in new forms of Social Connection while Social Distancing when we emerge from Quarantine and Celebrate at Drive-In Shabbat.

May Each of us Experience a Connection with the Source Within that Connects us as a Source for One Another as we Pray for All of Our World Through This Time.

with Love, Connection, and Torah Light,
Rabbi Lori