The Shabbat of Love
The secular calendar tells us love is in the air. But the Jewish calendar and parshat Yitro inform us that it is God who wishes us to live a life of love.
When the Ten Commandments are given, it is in the context of relationship. They are not given in order to earn God’s love. Rather, they are to inform us how to live as God’s people.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer at Big Sunday on Melrose Avenue. Big Sunday is an organization that provides volunteer opportunities almost everyday of the week, big and small, making significant differences in the Los Angeles community.
I was invited by Zach Cohen, a young professional who works with me at Sinai Temple through the Ezra Bair program, a program which employs Jewish young professionals within the Jewish community.
In casual conversation, Zach told me he attends Big Sunday every Thursday and I told him I would like to see what he does. As I walked in, I was welcomed by its founder and director David Levenson. He asked who was new here and why we chose to come to volunteer. He said, “this is not a place of haves and have nots, this is a place of haves and have more. He went on to say Big Sunday is not a place of community service, but rather community building through helping others.”
Over my hour of packing cafe packages for senior residents at a local home of Alzheimer’s patients I met a young girl and her mother who decided to volunteer, retirees seeking to make a difference, and special needs adults feeling valued. Old friends embraced, new friends met. In essence, I saw the epitome of what we learn in our Torah. Loving each other is loving God.
Tomorrow is the day of love in this country. But this Shabbat is the Shabbat of love: between us and God.