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It's Okay to Ask for Help

01/10/2019 08:33:01 AM


Rabbi Sam Shabman

It is a great joy to officially be back at Temple Sinai after three months of parental leave. It was a weird 3 months; the days were both very long and very short.

One of the more challenging days of parental leave was the day that our puppy Huck was hit by a car. Huck was horribly wounded and needed emergency surgery. To complicate the situation, my husband was headed out of town that evening. I suddenly found myself alone, with a two month old, a wounded dog, and a big rainstorm. I went from thinking I had it all together, to realizing ... I did not have it together, at all.  

I began to panic, but then I thought of all of YOU, and our amazing community. I thought of the many ways you have showed love and support to my family over the past few months.  Suddenly, the panic lifted, and I knew everything was going to be just fine, because I was part of a spectacular synagogue community. 

As a native New Yorker, it is not my natural inclination to ask for or accept help from friends or family. My first reaction is to figure out what service I can hire to solve a problem.  However, earlier that week I read a blog post by my college roommate that shifted my thinking. She teaches: When people in your community say, “let me know if you need anything”, take that statement seriously, do not brush it off. 

I share this saga with you because after Huck’s accident, I tried something new. I leaned on others. After all, what is the point of community if we cannot be there for each other during moments of weakness?  No one in the world is above asking for help.

In this week's Torah Portion, Bo, as the Israelites are about to finally make their Exodus from Egypt, Moses repeated God’s commandments to the Israelites. He said:  Remember this day...remember this day you were freed from Egypt...” We are taught to never forget the kindness that God bestowed upon the Israelite people, and the myriad of ways God supported us. By helping others, we can bring ourselves closer to God. 

When are the times in your life when people truly supported you? And how do you savor and remember these acts of kindness? 

The Hebrew word for holiness, kedushah, when literally translated means “to set aside.”  I will always remember and set aside these 3 months for the kindness you all showed me. I will recall these moments when I need strength.  I say thank you to each and every one of you, and I hope that this community continues to support one another through the good times and the bad times. That's what Temple Sinai is all about. Shabbat Shalom. 

Tue, February 18 2020 23 Sh'vat 5780