Thoughts for Shabbat
In an open letter to the Jewish Community written by 11 Chief Rabbis from around the world), the rabbis explain, “This Shabbat – the Shabbat before Pesach – is called Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat. It was first celebrated at the birth of the Jewish people, moments before the dawn of our deliverance from Egyptian slavery. Every Jewish family, alone in their homes in Egypt, sat fervently anticipating the united dream of deliverance and nationhood. 3332 years later, this Shabbat HaGadol, we too sit, isolated in our own homes, once again united in our fervent prayer for relief from the global pandemic that has shaken our world to its core.”
Although we may be isolated, we still have the power to be connected. Social distancing is a physical concept and as we reflect on the past few weeks, we see that our students on Aardvark are not at all alone as the term somehow suggests. This is clear in the message that one of our students, Marcy Gurspan, recently chose to share:
Making Lemonade from Lemons
by Marcy Gurspan, Florida, USA
Even with the current circumstances all over the world due to Covid-19, I truly feel so lucky to be able to be on Aardvark in Israel during this time. The whole world is facing major changes and restrictions, and I am very happy that I’m in what I believe is the best possible situation I could be in. Of course, the comfort of home is nice, but here on Aardvark I have my amazing friends, my apartment, and the ability to be in Israel. We have no idea what may happen in the future, but whenever things do turn around, Israel is the place that I want to be. My friends and I have been making the most of it by being as productive as possible… cooking, meditating, working out, improving our Hebrew, and doing the online activities that Aardvark Israel has made. Corona makes life far from ideal, but for me, the most ideal way to spend these times is with my closest friends in my favorite place on earth getting through it together and making the absolute most out of it. We go on 100-meter runs, cook together, watch movies, and whatever else we can come up with. Being with my Aardvark family is really helping me stay positive. One of my roommates wrote down a quote that we have in our apartment that applies perfectly: “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you are responding to what’s happening. That’s where the power is.”
As we head into Shabbat HaGadol, we can choose to feel the isolation of our circumstances, or we can look towards our redemption as our ancestors did. We can harness the power of our response to the isolation by focusing on connections with friends and family. May this Shabbat bring us closer to one another in spirit and may our isolation be only in body and not mind.
The Staff of Aardvark Israel