18/19 December 2020, 3/4 Tevet 5781


I keep thinking of Andrew’s words as we finished our Chanukah party last Sunday; “this extraordinary community wishes you Happy Chanukah”. Thank you to all for this most unusual and frankly extraordinary Chanukah. Thank you to all those who led lighting and who contributed such joy to these past eight nights. Zoe’s creativity knows no bounds. We did usher in a little light into these dark days. Chanukah Sameach to all and thank you.

This Shabbat

And Joseph was overcome with feelings towards his brother and wanted to weep, so he went into his chamber and wept there. And he washed his face and came out, and now in control of himself said; “Serve the food.”

Genesis 43:30-31

I’m moved by these words that finish the portion of Miketz. Joseph demonstrates such familiar emotions, it all gets too much for him as he reunites with his brothers (but doesn’t yet reveal himself). His tears are described with such attention, his washing of his face to hide evidence of his distress, his effort to restrain himself. Torah captures this scene with such sensitivity.

Can you say you have not known similar moments in your life, possibly even during this past year? A yearning for family or just the experience of overwhelm whilst trying to protect others. Reading this scene in its intimacy affirms and even amplifies our own emotional lives. I can safely say these past months, unprecedented in so many ways, have evoked such moments.

As we go back into Tier 3, and do a lot more restraining and restricting ourselves to keep family safe, I wish you strength and calm.

Shabbat Shalom

A warm Mazal Tov to the Beach family on Rafi’s Bar Mitzvah, we are delighted to celebrate, in a restricted fashion, in the synagogue this Shabbat.