Seeds of Bravery

Rabbi Bill Kuhn delivered this d’var Torah last Shabbat and interpreted how we can all be “Brave!”  Last weekend was “Shabbat Parah” the first Sabbath after Purim, which highlights the connection between the holiday of Purim (last Saturday p.m./Sunday) and the festival of Pesach, which comes exactly 30 days later.

There are a lot of connections between these two holidays especially in perhaps the most important theme of courage.  The bravery of Queen Esther who convinced King Ahasuerus to save the Jews from Haman (Boo!) and the courage of Moses who stood up to Pharaoh and said “Let my People go!”

So Purim is the time to begin preparing ourselves for Pesach and to prepare ourselves to be brave.

This is why we chose this them for our Purim video.  It is done to the song called “Brave” by popular singer Sara Bareilles.  I’d like to thank Cantor Frankel for conceiving of this idea, and Rabbis Maderer and Freedman who helped organize, edit and produce this.

In the video, you’ll see your clergy, staff and congregants having some fun but also please note the messages that a number of people are holding up, just being brave!

I want to see you be brave.  From Purim to Passover, we learn to be brave.  Purim comes at a time of year when the long, seemingly endless winter begins to break its stranglehold on us.  Spring comes.  The sun shines.  First blossoms are revealed, grasses sprout and plants begin to peek up through the soil.

But before a seed can germinate, it seems to die during winter.  It is silent and unseen.  Seemingly dead.

And then comes the miracle of the rebirth of spring, the rebirth of life.

So it is with our lives.  So it is with our ability to be brave.

Each of us has a seed of greatness inside of us.  But just as the seed in winter, it may seem dead or dormant.  Each of us has a purpose, a gift deep inside of us; each of us has something to say.  If only we will let the light in.  If only we will let the warmth of inspiration into our soul.  And then, like the song, you can

“Say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

Honestly, I just wanna see you

Be brave.”

This is the transformation that begins on Purim and culminates in Pesach.  Purim is the time when spiritual light begins to shine on the world.

Just as the light & warmth of the sun begins to bring about the transformation of nature, which was long hidden, the spiritual light of the message of Purim & Passover comes to warm our souls, and what was hidden will be revealed.

And then you can “say what you want to say.  And let the words fall out.  Honestly, you can be brave.”

The essence of the Pesach story is that Moses stood up to Pharaoh and said, “Let my people go!”  When God first told Moses to make this demand, Moses was afraid.  He said “I cannot do this.  Who am I to stand up to Pharaoh?”

And God said to Moses (in so many words):

“Say what you want to say

And let the words fall out

Honestly, I just want to

See you be brave!”

In our video, we asked members of our congregation to think of times when they have been brave, when they stood up for what they believed.

Here are a few that we featured:

I was brave when I said: “Face your fears”

I was brave when I said: “Will you marry me?”

I was brave when I:

–          Got involved in “POWER” – to try to change our city for the better.

–          “When we volunteered to sing a duet in the Children’s choir”

–          (same gender couple) “When I said I do.”

–          When I changed careers

–          When I wanted to have kids

–          When I wanted to adopt a child

–          When I started a family without a husband

–          When I stood up to someone who had made an anti-semitic remark in my presence

How would you have filled out the poster that said “I was brave when I ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________”

After all, these stories are not really about Queen Esther and Moses.  These stories are about you and me.  The purpose of Judaism is to help us live a better life, and to give us the courage to make our world a better place.

There is a seed of greatness inside of you.  A gift from the Creator of Life, just waiting for the spiritual light to touch your soul.  And when you let the light in, you can:

“Say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

Honestly, you can be brave.”