Shabbat Lekh-Lekha 5775

A health care worker returns from treating Ebola-infected patients, develops a low-grade fever upon returning to New York, and the city goes up in arms about where he bowled and ate meatballs. Why?

Two local tween-age children–brothers originally from Senegal–were beaten up by schoolmates so viciously they had to be hospitalized. This after being taunted by other children with the words “Ebola–go home!” Why?

Airport officials in Ankara, Turkey, were stirred into frantic action when they discovered Arabic writing on the body of an airplane. They suspected it was a message from ISIS, when in fact it was a prayer. Why?

Avram goes to Egypt with his wife Sarai after his new homeland, Canaan, is racked with famine. He turns to his wife and says, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. If the Egyptians see you, and think, ‘She is his wife,’ they will kill me and let you live” (Genesis 12:11-12). Why?

The short answer to this question is simple: people panic. But there’s likely more behind these cases of panic, both in the Biblical story and in current events. On Shabbat morning, I want to look at this story from a new perspective, and take some time to consider what causes us extreme and irrational panic.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi David Wise