Honorable Mensch-ion

Communal Famine

We learn this week “There was a famine in the land.” The Torah asks us why this needs to be mentioned? There were famines before. Nachmanides explains, “Aside from the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham: Perhaps there had not been a famine in the whole world until the days of Abraham (Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 26) and therefore the Torah counts from then. For what is the need to mention this? And the correct answer in my eyes is that they remembered that first famine and they told each other about it.”

There have been years of famine in the past. Yet, in our generation, each one of us knows that this will be a year that we must record, that we must tell our children, that we must learn how to live.

It is no surprise why so many organizations are archiving how they celebrate and how they mourn, how they transform normal business into a new normal.

It feels like yesterday when we said Dayeinu at our Seders. And it feels like yesterday that we blew the shofar outside our physical sanctuaries.

Today, it is the famine of community and gathering which we document. And yet, we know the day will come when the lean years will be behind this, and this famine will be one of memory.

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