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Ta Shema: March 1, 2024

Outshine Darkness With Light


I am still buzzing from the excitement that the Sisterhood Art Show brought to Bnai Israel once again. A hearty mazel tov to Alane Savod and all of Sisterhood, including the many sponsors, donors, and volunteers. Every detail was perfect!

Since this has become an annual tradition, I have come to be much more familiar with the movers and shakers of the local art scene. I have come to notice the changes in style that an artist makes from year to year as they continue to expand their voice and breadth of work. This year, I was particularly moved and impressed by how many people outside of our synagogue have come to know about, love, and look forward to the show.

I have the privilege of seeing the show for almost a week between setup and take down. During this time, I become very attached to the pieces and tend to associate different works of art with different congregants based on what I know about your interests and personal style. Like a Purim costume, I think about how a piece of art might highlight or unmask something about you. I am proud to say that some of you even picked out pieces I had thought of for you!

According to the Talmud, the Exile of the Jews was compared to night and the story of Purim was compared to day. The Exile of our people is represented by night, the great unknown. Since the Jewish people were exiled from the Holy Land until today, we do not know when our people will no longer be subjected to cruelty from those who would seek our oppression and destruction. Purim is the light, when all darkness in our lives will be outshined and banished, and the inner beauty will be brought to light. 

Every Purim, we get another chance to outshine darkness with light. We can do that through the four mitzvot of Purim, all of which you can do through the synagogue: Mishloach Manot, hearing megillah, having a meal, and giving gifts to the needy. You can outshine the darkness with brilliant light through dressing up: Releasing your hidden beauty at our masquerade shabbat service and showing your hidden whimsy with a Purim costume on Purim day.

I will also celebrate Purim a little early this year by hanging up my new art from the art show, a gorgeous piece by Barton Hatcher that reminds us of the promise of spring. When we look at that piece all year long, we will be reminded that even during the darkest and coldest months, spring and light is just around the corner. Purim, too, reminds us that spring, that Passover, the rebirth of spring and holiday of our freedom, is close by.

An Early Freilichen Purim to All! Let’s again do our best to combat any darkness that might exist in this world with brilliant, focused light.



Rabbi Chaya Bender

Tue, June 18 2024 12 Sivan 5784