Rabbi Eshel's Shabbat Message - March 29, 2024

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Rabbi Eshel's Shabbat Message - March 29, 2024

For me, officiating at funerals is never easy. Clearly the death of someone young, or someone who battled a debilitated disease or sickness, or someone who died suddenly and unexpectedly, these are challenging, painful, and confusing. Yet, even the funerals of people who lived long and full lives who are met by death as a peaceful friend, are hard for me because no matter the age, this person was still possibly someone’s mother, someone’s father, sister, brother, cousin, friend, etc. When we lose people we love it can be very, very lonely and isolating. This is why I am so grateful for our tradition that commands us to show up for those in our community who lose loved ones… our presence and our words and our hugs temper the pain and the loneliness. Yet still, when shiva ends and the community moves on, settling back into their routines, those affected by the death are left alone, or at least comforted by immediate family and close friends if they are so blessed. It is at these times that I feel those who are suffering in our community need us the most. When the immediacy ends people move on but for the mourners time can feel like it is standing still.

For some in our community, today’s date is March 29th, 2024. For others in our community and the greater Jewish world, today’s date is the 19th of Adar Bet, 5784. And still for many of us it is October 181st. Yes, you read that correctly. It has been 174 days since the massacre of October 7th and our Israeli family is still suffering, still in pain, still in deep trauma. In the initial days and weeks following Oct 7th our attention was laser focused because of how ripped we felt from reality. And as time passes Oct. 7th so sadly becomes part of our new normal. But that cannot, must not stop us from showing up to give a hug, lend a hand, share a story with our Israeli family still suffering. As you may remember, last December I traveled to Israel with a few of us from the temple to let our Israel family know they are not alone. They felt our love and they felt our support. I am sorry to say that as we enter the 175th day, their loneliness has returned even more powerful than before because now they feel as if forgotten.

So, I am asking you now. Come with me May 1st to May 7th to show up for our family to remind them they are not alone and they will never be alone as long as we have breath. Come with me to offer a hug, offer a hand, offer an ear to their stories as we accompany them on their journey of healing. Time is of the essence so please contact me ASAP for more information. Let’s show up to let them know Wilshire Boulevard Temple will always be there for them and with them. Let’s show up together. 


Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Eshel


Attached please find the link to my journal piece about my December trip.