On Monday night, I will take a red eye to Philadelphia. I have not seen my parents since January of 2020. Yes, we speak on the phone multiple times a day. There are Facetimes and Zooms and What’s App messages at all hours of the day and night, but for almost 15 months, there has been no embrace and no touch.
How does one prepare for such a moment? On my way to my parents’ home, I will pass the Liberty Bell, inscribed with the words of our parsha this week, “You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land for all of its inhabitants.” The remainder of that verse concludes, “Each of us shall return to our family.”
While the context of the verse may not literally apply to this moment of time, the pshat, literal words certainly do. No Rabbinic commentary disagrees with each other–the utmost value within our tradition is for family to be together.
This year, families have been physically separated. This year, families have experienced loss. And yet, just in the last day, I have encountered person after person about to have a reunion of family–locally from the city and valley, nationally from east and west coast, and even internationally.
My mother taught me and continues to teach the ultimate value is Shalom Bayit–peace in the house. This past year has magnified our differences. And so we pray that this upcoming year will enhance our desire to reunite, the lesson that I learn on this Mother’s Day.