William Hamilton

Never Alone

Once there was a farmer whose cart got stuck in a muddy pit. He tied a rope to his horse Charlie who began dragging it out. He shouted words of encouragement. “Come on Charlie, come on Sam, come on Jeffrey. Come on Charlie, come on Sam, come on Jeffrey.” Again and again he rooted and roared until his horse succeeded in pulling the cart free. 

A neighbor who’d been watching, asked why the farmer had been calling out three different names when only one horse was pulling. The farmer looked at him and replied, “To make him feel like he wasn’t doing it alone.” 

This tale is yet another gem from the new Haggadah from our community’s inspiring leader and teacher Leann Shamash.

Yes, we have supporters and partners. Those who seek and pursue respectful coexistence. Keep watch. They’re all around us. Their support is steady and sturdy. We don’t have to do this alone. 

We also sense companionship with our People’s hopeful story this Passover. And we have abundant gifts. The greatest gift God ever gave us is the Torah. All Jewish gifts are accompanied by invitations. That is, we receive them better when we share and extend them. 

In the portion of Torah this Shabbat, we glimpse how a forgiving-bond between God and the Jewish People deepens. Moses frames his call for healing the rift caused by the Golden Calf around the Hebrew word chen (Ex. 33:12,13,16,17). It’s a gentle and tender word, signaling quiet dignity; a soft-glow of grace. It’s also reciprocal: favorable dignity that’s received also bestows dignity. 

Now consider how Emily Hand, that precious young girl who was rescued, after having to count 50 days in captivity, joined with her Kibbutz Beeri friends in Tel Aviv at their Seder earlier this week. Please watch this 75 second clip

As we now count the Omer, that’s this next 50 days up to Shavuot’s Sinai gift of Torah, may the melody she and her peers know by heart, teach each of us to live on and with questions, making them into a secret melody that hums inside us as well. And may this realization remind us that we’re never alone.

About the Author
Rabbi William Hamilton has served as rabbi (mara d'atra) of Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA since 1995.
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