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Parshat Tazria

Dear STOCS Friend,

With the passing of the highly anticipated 2024 eclipse, we find ourselves reflecting on the profound moments it brought to millions of Americans. For some, it was a source of immense joy and spiritual connection; for others, it ended in disappointment shrouded by clouds. As a resident of Syracuse, known for its cloudy skies, I opted not to purchase solar glasses for three reasons.

Firstly, Syracuse ranks as the 8th cloudiest city in the United States, making the likelihood of significant cloud cover during the eclipse quite high. Secondly, I harbored no intention of risking my vision by gazing directly at the sun. And thirdly, the frequent cloud cover in Syracuse led me to choose to experience the eclipse differently.

As darkness fell during the eclipse's peak, I found myself reminded a sentence in Tehillim:

 "How great are Your works, Hashem; You have made them all with wisdom; the earth is full of Your creations!"

This verse, elucidated by the Meiri, encapsulates a fundamental principle in Judaism — that all of Hashem's creations are imbued with wisdom and greatness. An eclipse, therefore, is not merely a celestial event but a testament to the magnificence of Hashem's creation.

Delving deeper, Taalei Orot quotes the Rokeach, highlighting that while human construction may lack inherent wisdom, every aspect of Hashem's creation possesses wisdom.

In the opening chapter of the Torah, we are reminded:

וַיַּרְא אֱלֹקִים אֶת כׇּל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וְהִנֵּה טוֹב מְאֹד

 "And God saw everything He made and behold it was very good!"

Each morning, as part of our prayers, we recite:

יוצר אור ובורא חשך עושה שלום ובורא את הכל

"He, Who forms light and creates darkness, makes peace and creates all."

Thinking about these passages, I arrived at the following conclusion — Hashem communicates with humanity through His creations. In a world where secular humanism often obscures the presence of the Divine, events like the recent solar eclipse serve as powerful reminders of Hashem's presence and message.

Reflecting on the legacy of our patriarch Abraham, Rabbi Sacks reminds us of our responsibility to copy his example — "to remain steadfast in our faith while extending blessings to all, irrespective of their beliefs."

As the "Chosen Nation," we have a unique role in shaping the world's direction, potentially inspiring millions as Abraham did in his time. Isaiah's call to "be a light to the nations" resonates deeply in our times. The future of our world rests, in part, in the hands of every Jew. Let us seize the opportunity to make our impact count.

Wishing you all a good Shabbas.

Rabbi Shore


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