This Shabbat, we are studying the Torah portion Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35. Moses, channeling God’s power, tells Pharaoh to free the Israelite people, placing upon the Egyptians the plagues of Blood, frogs, locusts, hail, and boils. Each time, Pharaoh tells Moses he would give in and allow the Hebrews to leave, but after the plague abates, he gets tough again and refuses to free the people. Despots are like that, they give in to save their positions, then reassert themselves when it’s safe and attack the opposition. That is why we who work for freedom cannot trust our rulers; we must constantly assert ourselves against them, and eventually they give in and give up.
This is also the weekend commemorating the birth of another great freedom fighter, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. Part of the celebration is to take part in some community service work-distribute food to people with food insecurity, cleaning the neighborhood, holding clothing drives, donate blood, etc. This is our part in moving the world forward a little bit, to join in with others for the good of the community. Let’s all year look for some community service to take part in.
Also, we’ll have a brand new President, as the old one has been a disaster for our country, allowing the twin plagues of COVID and fascism-with its accompanying violence and racism-to run rampant throughout the country, putting all of us in fear for our lives, when a President must protect us from these ills. Let us, each in our capacities, as individuals and as part of a community, do our bit to tear these diseases out of our nation, root and branch.