Over this pandemic, our appearances have changed: hair grown out, suits and ties shed. We have not seen each other for almost an entire year. This week has been one where the surge in Southern California continues, and at the same exact time, the miracle of the vaccination appeared before our very eyes. We watch with wonder and gratitude as many in our Sinai community received the first doses of the vaccine, protecting them on the front lines as they save lives day after day.

We know that the day will arrive where we can see our brothers and sisters again, embrace, and make up for lost time. Yet, will we remember each other?

The Torah tells us during the reunification of Joseph and his brothers, “Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.” Rashi writes, “When he left them, he had no beard, but now he was fully bearded.” 

Sforno, the Italian commentator, comments, “Joseph recognized them individually.” Yes, our appearances have changed, our lifestyles have shifted, and a new normal has set in. Yet, as Joseph did so well, he recognized each brother for who they were individually. 

This year, our children grew up too quickly, and our elders have aged too fast. May we go into the new year ahead with that continued recognition of each other, and ultimately, of ourselves.


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