We are Connected: The Week's End, April 5, 2024
Apr 4th 2024

As I pack up my apartment in Manhattan and prepare to move to Toronto full-time, I find myself soaking up all of New York City’s greatest attractions. Last week, as part of this last hurrah of exploration, I visited the Invisible Worlds Immersive Experience at the American Museum of Natural History.

In addition to being interactive, child-friendly, and beautiful, the exhibit was clear: all life on earth is related. Not only are we related to all other humans, but we humans share ancestors with every living thing on this earth. Our hands resemble the wings of a bat. Our cells have the same structure as the cells of a pineapple. Large parts of our genetic code even mirror that of a mushroom!

In nature, nothing exists alone. We are connected.

Our Torah itself knows that if our best qualities, our most innovative technology, and our most heroic kindnesses are shared “wins” among humanity, then so, too, are our mistakes shared.

וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֜ה אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן קְרַ֤ב אֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּ֙חַ֙ וַעֲשֵׂ֞ה אֶת־חַטָּֽאתְךָ֙ וְאֶת־עֹ֣לָתֶ֔ךָ וְכַפֵּ֥ר בַּֽעַדְךָ֖ וּבְעַ֣ד הָעָ֑ם וַעֲשֵׂ֞ה אֶת־קׇרְבַּ֤ן הָעָם֙ וְכַפֵּ֣ר בַּֽעֲדָ֔ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהֹוָֽה׃

Then Moses said to Aaron: “Come forward to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering, making expiation for yourself and for the people; and sacrifice the people’s offering and make expiation for them, as יהוה has commanded.”

Just as we cannot exist on our own, we cannot grow, we cannot learn, we cannot apologize, and we cannot do teshuva alone. We need each other to repair our broken world.

May this Shabbat bring us a sense of belonging and connection amid our people and the broader community, so that next week may bring a renewed sense of responsibility for each other, and for the world.

With blessings for a good end to your week, and for a Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Lara