Honorable Mensch-ion

Ultimate Concern

Waking up to the smell of ash and a sky painted with an orange glow of fire was fearful and nerve wracking. The theologian Paul Tillich wrote, “Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned.” Over these past 48 hours, I have witnessed true acts of faith. Community members opening up their homes to others as they evacuated, children baking cookies and making sandwiches for the Los Angeles Fire Department on the front lines, and synagogues and schools welcoming in those in need.

We often discuss faith in grandiose terms; this week, faith, ultimate concern, is real. In times of crisis, what is our ultimate concern? Our material possessions? Or our loved ones and the people we care about most?

Maimonides teaches “Ani maamin beemunah shleima” I believe with perfect faith. He explains when a person believes in someone because of signs and miracles, there can still exist doubt that perhaps the signs were accomplished through magic. We believe in God because of what happened at Mount Sinai, which represents the ultimate concern for something larger than ourselves.God willing, as the fires diminish around us, we pray that we will continue these acts of faith in our daily lives.

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