People studying daf yomi, started reading the Talmudic tractate covering the laws of Passover (Pesahim) just last week. In some ways, it feels strange to be studying about a spring holiday at a time when the days are short and cold, and the leaves have fallen off almost all the trees around us. Winter is a tough time for me in the Pacific Northwest; I am a California girl at heart, and the darkness and endless rain always dampen my spirits a bit. This year in particular, winter brings with it a sense of dread, as our whole world continues to be ravaged by a modern-day plague and so many around us are suffering, sick, hungry, and isolated. Things at CBH feel different too. I am so grateful for the spiritual leadership of Emily Katcher during this time, and the beautiful music and warm connections she has brought to our Zoom services and classes. And I deeply miss seeing all of you in person.
So, while Passover is still four months away, reading Pesahim is a hopeful reminder that spring, and redemption, will eventually come. The first page of the tractate has an extended discussion of the custom of bedikat hametz. The very first line of the Mishna states, “On the אוֹר [Hebrew word for light] of the fourteenth of the month of Nisan, one searches for leavened bread by candlelight.” The Rabbis question whether אוֹר means day or night. Ultimately, they conclude the word in this context means evening— an important reminder that even in darkness, there is light.
Of course, there is another holiday in the Jewish calendar involving candles and lights in the darkness, and it is coming much sooner than Passover. Chanukah begins the night of December 10th. While our community will be celebrating differently this year, we will be offering a variety of safe ways to connect with each other. These include:
- Two Zoom classes our Spiritual Leader, Emily Katcher, will be teaching on the holiday (at 11 AM on 11/29 and 12/6). Find the Zoom link in our e-news.
- CBH members will receive a Chanukah basket at their doorstep. If you’d like a baskets in the future, please complete your membership form.
- We will also be having a Zoom, Chanukah/Shabbat service on 12/11. Spiritual leader Emily Katcher will be leading the service, and we are thrilled that singer-songwriter Beth Hamon will be joining us as our cantorial soloist. (Zoom link in our e-news)
I am so grateful that we are still able to connect virtually during this time. And, as I light the Chanukah candles with my family, I will look forward to longer days and being able to see you all safely in person soon.