Thank You- Rabbi Hillel November 28, 2020
Guest Blogger Shirin Morris
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?" Rabbi Hillel (circ. 110 BCE)
These words have been rumbling around in my mind recently. Ancient words but their wisdom is as important today as they ever were.
How can we not see that we are all connected?
This pandemic seems the gift that keeps on giving. It refuses to be ignored even if we try hard to deny it, to pretend that it doesn't exist and doesn't matter. We are like the little boy deep in the forest who closes his eyes to escape a tiger only to find that when he opens his eyes, yikes!, it's still there.
I hear the wind whistling in the trees as I often do. It's the season for listening. Where are we heading and is that where we want to go? Or are we just going, going, going to avoid standing still because when we stop and listen we don't like what we hear?
I only have questions and no answers. It seems that the only thing to do is to stay still and just listen.
This show has been cancelled. Our favorite one, the one where we all get together and cook and eat a feast and then wash the dishes for days after. I forgot the part where we clean the house, even under the beds and set the table and play charades or dictionary and laugh until our stomachs hurt especially at Uncle Vic who doesn't quite seem to get it. But the years go by, Uncle Vic is long gone and this year the dust will continue to collect under the beds because this show has been cancelled.
This show has been cancelled and instead we dream of dystopia. I wish it was a dream. I have been pinching myself but I can't seem to wake up. Where is everyone? Now they appear on a screen in little boxes and we can only imagine the feeling of touch.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? Don't be so selfish, my mother used to say. But why not?
I am you and you are me and we are all together. Is it a mirage or a vision?
If I am only for myself, what am I? What am I? Something solid and yet not, more space than matter, blood and bones and skin, air, fire, water and earth. That's the ground beneath our feet. If I am only for myself; the oceans rise, fill with plastic and wash away cities, the fire burns trees, flowers, buildings, cars and everything in its path as it rushes towards the sea. The earth quakes and the wind blows over ancient forests and shouts - Wake up, Wake up, Wake up!
If not now, when?
Shirin Morris, November 2020