We have heard the term, “needing to pivot,” so many times throughout this pandemic. On the surface, this means we start with a certain plan, and then when circumstances change, we pivot – we shift, we revise, and we look again, at what we now need to do to manage. Over the last eight months, we have been pivoting and readjusting to the conditions surrounding the increasing numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19 and our individual and collective responses to curbing the continued transmission.
We, as a people, have constantly pivoted throughout our history. Stories upon stories of our people remind us of the Yiddish expression- “Man plans, and God laughs.” Viktor Frankel says it perfectly in Man’s Search for Meaning, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
In this week’s Torah portion, we find the biblical character Isaac learning how to pivot as well. He is digging and digging for wells. Every time he digs up a well, he runs into conflict with herdsman of Gerar. Finally, God has to step in and remind him to expand his mind, his thinking about the wells. God reminds him that there is abundance even in the most challenging situations. He names the well “Rechovot” which means, “space.” In abundant space, we can find the nourishment of memory, love, and friendship that enables us to pivot.
As a synagogue, we have had to pivot in how we operate as well. We have gone from having no in-person Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, to gatherings outside, to gathering inside with 10 people, and now to 25 people. However, now with the numbers going up again, we may have to pivot, yet again.
We all have had to pull together, as a team, to help as our Senior Rabbi is healing and recovering from bypass surgery. You as a congregation have been extremely supportive and loving to provide the space and the abundance of time for Rabbi Sussman to heal.
In Hebrew, the word pivot is l’hachlif. It is a directional word meaning, “upside down.” Sometimes for us to bring more abundance in our lives we literally have to turn our worlds upside down. We have to see that our perspective can no longer be the same, opening the door to new experiences.
Starting this Friday, November 20, we will have a Zoom Shabbat worship experience. Our 6th grade students will lead this Friday’s service. Then moving forward the 3rd Friday of each month, we will “go live” to worship together as a community. The service will still be found on Streamspot and Facebook. Additionally, if you want to join our community on Zoom, here is the link. This is just one more way we are changing, growing and leaving room for the abundance of love and community within our midst.
We continue to wish great healing for our Rabbi Sussman, and I thank you all for the abundance of healing wishes and prayers for his recovery. Our hearts are with the Sussman family!
Cantor Amy E. Levy