Shabbat Bo 578
What was the nature of the plague of Hoshekh, darkness, the ninth calamity that God brought on the Egyptians? The Torah describes a darkness so thick it was tangible. What’s more, it prevented Egyptians from any and all movement. “People could not see one another, and for three days no one could move about” (Exodus 10:23).
The sages took this picture of paralysis further: “During those three days, he who was seated could not stand up, he who was standing could not sit down” (Mekhilta deRabbi Yishmael, Beshalah 4).
My teacher at JTS, Rabbi Bill Lebeau, used a scientific word to describe organizational stagnation: homeostasis. He insisted that homeostasis was the ultimate obstacle to vibrant Jewish life. I think he was right, and on Shabbat afternoon, I’ll teach a Hasidic text to expand on his idea. It reminds us that we are not meant to remain in place, and it shows how people are inclined to treat each other in ways that prevent growth. So join us on Shabbat afternoon. You won’t want to stand still and miss it!
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wise
Candle lighting: 4:48 PM
Torah Reading: Exodus 10:1-13:16
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13-28