We are in the midst of a terrible crisis.
The government shutdown is like a plague, an affliction upon the country, affecting so many lives. It is also a crisis of consciousness, a personal and collective challenge to go into a higher realm of wisdom that urges us to find redemption.
This sounds so much like the story of the Exodus from Egypt that we revisit this week in Parshat B'Shalach.
This is a weekend of convergence: of the ancient story, a reflection of a divine calling, and spiritual yearning for freedom and security.
It converges with the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr Weekend, a time to remember one of the greatest civil struggles in this nation's history.
It converges with the Women's March, also recalling the women's suffrage movement of one century ago.
It converges with the Sabbath of Song, Shabbat Shirah, recalling the Song of Liberation and Hope sung by Moses and the singing and dancing led by Miriam.
It recalls the Song of Deborah, the courageous and wise judge and prophetess of ancient Israel.
It converges with We Shall Overcome and She Once was a Union Maid and many other contemporary freedom songs.
This weekend also converges with Tu Bishvat, the 15th of Shvat, the New Year of the Trees. Through its rituals we participate in helping the sap rise in the trees and, in the midst of winter and darkness, affirm our hope in the future. It's is also a weekend of the full moon, it's light shining upon us.
This weekend is an invitation, once again, to leave Mitzrayim, translated as Egypt, but, literally, that place of "narrowness", personal and collective.
We are called to be present in some way, to 'Rise Up Singing.'
Our services this Shabbat will hold that spirit. Some of us will be joining the rally at the Women's March at 1:30pm. All are invited to the MLK Interfaith Service at Cedar Lane on Sunday at 3pm.
There are many opportunities. Some of us will experience a Tu Bishvat Seder Sunday evening. Some of us will call Congress. It is a weekend to be an activist, to live the Dream, to taste Redemption. MIn faithful solidarity and song, Reb David