Engendering Hope


In my article in the Jewish Exponent this week (you can see it here), I talk about how Israelites were suffering in Egypt from much more than the physical torture of their enslavement. As the Torah points out, even when Moses comes to the people to assure them that God is with them and that freedom is imminent, the Israelites cannot hear him because of their “shortness of spirit” (Exodus 6:9). The people’s spirits have been crushed. The very difficult task facing Moses is not only to free the people from physical bondage but also to find a way to lift up their spirits and to allow them to become fully human once more. In our world and our time, we face many difficult challenges that require real, physical solutions – the problems of poverty, hunger, and homelessness, among many others. But like Moses, we too face the challenge of lifting people’s spirits and turning them from despair to hope. Freedom of the body and freedom of the spirit are equally pressing concerns for us, and the two are always intertwined. May we have the courage to address both as we turn toward another sort of new year.