Shabbat Shemot: A New King Arose Who Did Not Know Joseph

Now there arose a new king who did not know Joseph (Ex.1.8)These words from the opening of the Book Shemot, Exodus, rise up, an uncanny echo reverberating through history, mocking those of us who think that the Torah is tamed and not so up to date.

These are the words that greet us on this Shabbat; this is our parashat hashavua. Like our ancestors, we know not what awaits us. Like our ancestors, we know that lessons can be learned through our history, and that justice is worked out day by day.

On Friday we will be in shul, or at work, at a rally, at more than one of these, or wherever else we must be. Wherever we are, let us be together – with each other as we can be in touch, and with all those who seek justice and show up for justice, here and everywhere. 

Tomorrow we will introduce a new prayer minhag, a Tahanun to be recited each day which is not a holy day.

On Shabbat we will rest, and connect with each other and the sources of our strength. Seek out your Jewish community whenever you can on this Shabbat; we are stronger when we face the uncertainty of the unknown together.

And on Sunday we will continue our path together, taking one step at a time, as carefully and as compassionately as we can.

Hazak v’nit’hazek, be strong and let us strengthen each other