Today is March 12, 2014 - 10 Adar 5774
of Westport, Weston and Wilton
30 Hillspoint Road · Westport, CT 06880
Phone: (203) 454-4673 · Fax: (203) 454-8888
Links of Interest
From the Rabbi’s Study
Posted on November 02, 2013
Seeing through the Darkness
The phone rang around 5AM and startled me out of a deep sleep. Middle-of-the-night or early morning phone calls are usually not a good sign. We all dread them….
My sister’s voice was on the other end of the phone. “Jeremy: Mom and Dad are alright, but we can’t reach Grandpa.”
“What are you talking about? What happened?”
“You didn’t hear? You didn’t feel it? There was a massive earthquake in LA. I’ve spoken with Mom and Dad and they are ok, but we can’t reach Grandpa yet.”
It was twenty years ago this month that I received that call. I was a senior at UC San Diego and while the Northridge earthquake was felt in San Diego, I slept through it. Thankfully, my grandfather was reached a few hours later and he was fine. My parents home in the San Fernando Valley, just south of Northridge, sustained significant damage, but thank God, they too were not hurt. A book shelf came crashing down on the bed in “my room.” I don’t like to think about what might have happened had I been home. Just a week earlier, I was home on vacation and slept in that same bed.
I distinctly remember my father reflecting on the moments that followed the quake. My parents lived on a hill, overlooking the entire Valley, and the view was usually spectacular, especially at night. After the earthquake, my father immediately went outside to try to determine the extent of the damage. He told me that he had never seen darkness like he saw early that morning. It was as if the world had literally disappeared. There was absolutely nothing to see in front of him. My dad realized that after standing outside for a while, his eyes were able to adjust. Slowly, he was able to see the outline of objects in front of him and then a little bit more. It wasn’t until I lived in Westport fifteen years later and experienced an extended power outage that I fully understood what he meant.
Living in the Northeast, I now read the Exodus story, and specifically the 9th plague of darkness, through different lenses. Usually, when we experience darkness, there is something we can do about it. We can turn on a light. Darkness can be scary and when you can’t “turn on the light” it is even scarier. Commenting on the 9th plague, our rabbis speak of the darkness that exists when we don’t “see” each other as human beings. When we are so occupied with our own lives and activities that we literally can’t “see” those who are standing right in front of us, we have been afflicted by nothing short of a modern day plague.
During these winter months, the days are short and we experience more hours of darkness. It is tempting for us to succumb to the darkness, stay home and hibernate. Please remember that unlike Dairy Queen or the Longshore swimming pool, our synagogue does not shut down for the winter! No matter how dark it might be outside, know that your TCS community is standing here right in front of you. Let us adjust our eyes and take a look–Shabbat Limud, late-Friday night service with an A Capella group and wine tasting, Tu Bishvat Seder, Taste of Torah and Jewish rock concert…these are just a few of our upcoming programs. We would love to see you. Our commitment is to provide plenty of light–now we just need your presence.
Best wishes for a 2014 filled with health, happiness, and plenty of light,
Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn