Tomorrow is Another Day

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, February 25, 2021

Dear Solel,

As I write this message, we are about the celebrate the festival of Purim, in the month of joy, Adar – Mi shenichnas Adar, marbim b’simcha – When [the month of] Adar arrives, we increase our joy! Those of us who were at last year’s Purim celebration remember it looking like this:

Solel Purim 2020

Monday, March 9, 2020. I remember remarking on the very large crowd celebrating Purim with us, as we carefully served pizza and hamantaschen with tongs, while wearing gloves. Part of me wondered if so many had come out of an intuitive sense that we needed to be with our community, our Solel family. Although we didn’t know what the coming days and weeks would bring, there was already an undercurrent of worry and concern. It was the last large gathering that we held in our Solel building before everything locked down. By the following Friday, kids were told to take things home from school for an extended March break, many began working from home, and by that Monday we had shut down our building.

As a rabbi I mark time by the rhythms of the Jewish calendar, and so, although our Purim celebration this year, like all of our holiday observances this year, was online, I find joy in the small moments of our rituals and observances. Living with a sense of kavannah (direction), spiritual life grounds me, enables me to find my center. Finding our kivun, our direction, our center, is really our soul’s mission. We’re all figuring out what it means to be human right now, in the midst of it all, no matter whether it was in the world before covid, or right now, living through this pandemic, or what life will be like once we are no longer in an active pandemic. And we need to find a little joy in all of the beautiful, challenging, messiness that is life, so here we are in Adar, recognizing that just like in Megillat Esther, our world is upside down. So what do we do? We dress in crazy costumes, eat way too many hamantaschen (but who cares when you are wearing comfy pants), and dance and sing like no one’s watching from the comfort of our living rooms.

At this year mark, a number of people I have spoken to recently have been telling me that they are hitting a wall, reaching a point where it has become that much more physically or mentally or emotionally challenging to keep moving forward in this pandemic. We are all tired of being apart. We are tired of not being able to hug, of saying “I miss you”, and “I can’t wait for this to go back to normal (whatever normal was or will be).” It is hard when we are all going through this together but also far apart.

I have said this before, and I’m going to say it again: It’s ok to acknowledge that, in fact, it is important to name and acknowledge what we are going through. Please do not tell yourself “I shouldn’t feel that; other people have it worse.” While it is often true that someone out there has it worse than you, that doesn’t mean that you, your experiences, and your emotions are not important and real. The positive meanings can only be found when we acknowledge our feelings and losses. They matter and they are valid.

You can be afraid and brave at the same time. It’s okay to grieve all that we’ve lost this year, in whatever way you need to do that – in conversation with a friend, in support groups, in making art, or just sitting quietly for a time. We are learning to live life in a different way –these limitations are painful, and at the same time open us up to different ways of being in this world.

The struggles that we face each and every day are part of being human. That is part of our story too. So, if you are feeling that you have hit a wall, know that you are not alone. Instead of banging your head against it, know that sometimes walls are there so we can lean on them and rest. Tomorrow is another day to begin again.

Rabbi Audrey S. Pollack

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