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Seeing Someone

01/03/2022 09:07:17 AM


Tami Raubvogel, President

What does it mean to “see” someone? 

There is the literal meaning. You can see someone, for example, who is standing in front of you or sitting near you at Shabbat service. I can see how many people choose to attend the service on Zoom or in person and you can see everyone too. Sometimes we acknowledge that we see each other by smiling, waving, or saying hello. These simple acts are very important because it sends a message that the person you are acknowledging is valued and worth your time. It also feels good to be seen by someone else.

One can argue that the absence of seeing someone might be even more impactful. How many people have you not seen since the pandemic started? How many of you felt isolated and alone because you see so few people? I don’t think anyone appreciated how important it was to see others and to be seen until we couldn’t.

Another meaning is when seeing someone goes beyond the surface. It's crucial to be able to see past the exterior qualities that are presented if we are going to learn what is important to one another and maybe to realize what we have in common. It is not until you get to know someone on a deeper level that you really see them. 

There is a third meaning that is found in Parshat Re’eh in the book of Deuteronomy. The word Re’eh translated means “see”.

“See,” says Moses to the people of Israel, “I place before you today a blessing and a curse”—the blessing that will come when they fulfill G‑d’s commandments, and the curse if they abandon them.

In this case, the word see is a mandate or a proclamation about the importance of the commandments. In this parsha, Moses is telling people that they have a choice: they can follow the commandments and receive a blessing or they can abandon them and suffer the consequences. He is asking them to see that their choice has consequences. Consequences that will impact the whole community.  

So what does it mean to you, as a member of our CBJ Community to “see someone”? 

For me it means that we greet each other, face to face when we are in person or virtually when on Zoom.

Human interaction is vital for social emotional growth and development. When we see each other at Shabbat services, a social action program, a mahjong game, minyan or the Hanukkah fair, we develop strong relationships and connections around our faith, which is how Judaism will maintain and grow.

For me it also means that we have meaningful interactions about important topics. It could be a discussion around Torah and the messages in the sermon or a respectful dialogue with someone who has a divergent viewpoint so you can understand them better and they can understand you.

Lastly, for me it means that I see the importance of the commandments and I choose to safeguard the Jewish community and help others develop their own Jewish identity by being an active member of the community.  Whether it is with a smile and a wave or a conversation about an article we both read, as the CBJ President, I plan to engage deeply and thoughtfully with as many of our congregants as possible. 
I look forward to seeing you in person or virtually over the next two years and I welcome the opportunity for you to see me too.

Sat, May 21 2022 20 Iyyar 5782