Rabbi Becky Silverstein: ‘There Are Sparks Of Holiness’

Voice Notes of Hope is a series of encouraging words from rabbis, just when we need them the most.

It’s a scary time. Many of us are feeling despaired. Many of us are feeling hopeless. And we could all use a boost. So, we asked our favorite rabbis to send us voice notes of hope, reminders that as bad as things feel now, we must not give up. Here’s Rabbi Becky Silverstein, the rabbi/founder of Beyn Kodesh l’Chol.

“One of my favorite stories in the Talmud finds Moses on top of Mt. Sinai watching God adding flourishes to the letters of the Torah. Moses asks God, ‘what is holding you up?’ God replies, ‘in the future Rabbi Akiva will derive mountains of law based on these flourishes.’

I love the idea that God added details to the Torah so that one person would be able to engage in their way. Rabbi Akiva is a person of Torah. We learn elsewhere that he is martyred by the Romans for studying Torah when the very act had been forbidden. When his students ask him why he is learning knowing it could bring his death, Akiva replies that not learning Torah is also certain death.

When I think about the world around us, I am inspired by God and by Rabbi Akiva. God provides Rabbi Akiva a source of resilience, a deep source of connection to tradition and to himself, and Akiva recognizes it for what it is — a lifeline.

I believe that there is something in Torah, broadly defined, for all of us.

Something to inspire us, to keep us grounded, to keep us connected to tradition and to each other.

As I look around, I see people finding their something — their role, the way they fit in to building a world of dignity and justice for all, the thing that allows them to breathe deep in a world the can feel like it is spinning.

There are, in Torah and in the world, sparks of holiness, grounding experiences for all of us. As we move closer to and ultimately through the end of 2020, may we be blessed to recognize what it is that is calling to us and brave enough to grab hold.”

Listen on Instagram, and share, here.

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