Anyone who tells you they know why this is all happening is either a prophet/holy person or a fool. Still, we need to learn lessons that can help us improve.
There is one place in the Torah (Bible), where isolation was required; in the plague of tzaaros. It was a spiritual malady that was caused by evil speech, lashon hara. I can’t help but think we need to improve in this area. I personally went on a Facebook fast almost two years ago because the tenor of discussion was so divisive and hostile. Amazingly, social media is now our only means of communication, which is why I began giving daily FB Torah classes, to fix the problem at its root and use the medium itself to help unite us. Passover is the time when we become one nation united with G-d. The Pascal lamb had to be roasted whole and eaten communally to represent the idea of truly becoming one. I don’t mean this in the superficial level of “everyone is right,” rather let’s converse and interact deeply where we can question our positions and hear others instead of being swayed by quick FB style sound bites of truth.
This past week’s Torah portion discusses the opening daily Temple service, scooping up the ashes and placing them by the altar to become part of the altar itself. What does this signify and why is it the beginning of the service?
Ash and Earth are interchangeable terms in Hebrew but there is a crucial difference; everything grows in earth; nothing grows in ash. Ash represents our failures, where no growth takes place. Yet ash and all rejected refuse actually becomes the best fertilizer to cause other things to grow. When we fail, instead of getting down, it should create a deep yearning which become the basis of our future success. The ash of failure is the catalyst of growth and becomes the altar for our development. Let’s come out of this time stronger and more united with soft, open hearts that are ready to receive.
Rabbi Karmi Ingber is the founding rabbi of The Kehilla in Sandy Springs and director of the Inner Spark, an organization dedicated to make deep, authentic spirituality accessible and relevant to all.