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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

The Mayor of Shreveport wants us to wear masks whenever we are in public places and interacting with other people. The mandate includes Houses of Worship. We should not have needed anyone to mandate wearing masks. We should have been doing it anyway. 

In Jewish tradition, the saving of lives is of utmost priority. One can break other Mitzvot (Commandments) in order to save a life. Rabbi Michael Knopf is the rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Richmond, Virginia, and a member of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. He wrote the Blessing for the Mitzvah of Putting on a Mask that you see here. He suggested that if we say a B'rachah (Blessing) when we put it on, 

I will quote part of his article in the "Forum" 
"We recite a blessing before fulfilling a commandment to indicate that the deed we are about to perform is thoughtful and deliberate. We affirm that we are doing the action intentionally, and for the sake of fulfilling a religious obligation. In this way, we affirm the spiritual significance of the behavior, turning the thoughtless and the mundane into the intentional and the sacred, and helping us live with more meaning and purpose...[Saying] a blessing will remind us that these actions are not just good but godly, not just for safety but for sanctity, not just required but righteous."

You may have heard me say that we are super heroes. We have many powers that help save other lives. We stay home. We wear masks. There are many super heroes we have "learned" about who wear masks to protect their identity: think of Batman, for example. In today's world, he is absolutely missing the point. He wears his mask over his eyes and covers the shape of his nose. That does not help anyone else at all. Instead, we are like Spiderman: he may cover his eyes to protect his identity, but more important, he covers his nose and mouth - to protect others. We need to be more like Spiderman. And like Spiderman says: "With great power comes great responsibility." We have the power to protect others and save them from getting this horrible COVID-19. As Jews we have an obligation to make choices for righteousness, loving-kindness, and holiness. 

Until this pandemic is no longer a threat, please do what you can to protect each other. Choose life - stay home when you can, wear a mask when you are with others, check on friends and family.

Tue, December 1 2020 15 Kislev 5781