Only Our Souls Should Be Burning – By Marc

Notre Dame was on fire and my tears were not enough to extinguish the flames.I was surprised at how emotional I was as I watched this iconic structure go up in flames. I had, like many, gone to Paris on my honeymoon. The city was magical then, though it has taken on a darkness recently with so much hatred and anti-Semitism… and sometimes the beauty of a honeymoon and wedding is overshadowed by a divorce. But still… it is Paris… and Notre Dame was… is… magnificent.

Notre Dame is more than a church. It is a place that people literally flock to… religious, non-religious… tourists… students of architecture and those who just want to feel the power and majesty… live a few hours in a Victor Hugo novel… maybe catch a glimpse of the Hunchback in the bell towers

It is an icon… a symbol… it is how the world was, and maybe even how it can be. The architectural value alone is staggeringAs I watched this holy relic burn, my brain went to the Temple, the holiest of holies… and how it was destroyed not once but twice. Notre Dame will be rebuilt… and yet our Temple is still not whole. However, Jews and Judaism survived. We are here.

My brain went to Pittsburgh and the Tree Of Life Synagogue and how Jews, Muslims and Christians came together to heal and rebuild. My brain went to New Zealand and how the same occurred… people of all faiths coming together to put out the literal flames of hate.

The timing of the fire cannot be ignored… Jews and Christians alike are entering into a powerful and important time… a holy time… and though our beliefs are obviously different, the powerful idea of loving thy neighbor rings out from the bell towers.

Buildings should not burn. Holy sites should not be destroyed. And while the literal flames can do so much damage, the flames of Torah and faith and mitzvahs must be stronger, for those flames give life to the soul, and only our souls should be burning.As we recall our Exodus from Egypt and retell the story, as we have from generation to generation, let our souls be warmed, ignited, inspired… for only our souls should be burning.

As we realize that Egypt, while literal and historical and factual, is also a metaphor for the bondage we find ourselves in today… sadness… anger… addiction… moving away from Judaism or Hashem… We also know that as we retell the story of Passover and remind ourselves of where we were as Jews… and where we were able to go to, guided by Moses and of course, Hashem… that we, in our  own lives, can break the bonds of slavery and find true freedom.

For only our souls should be burning.

We must release the shackles that weigh down our very own souls and find our own inner Moses… that reluctant and humble leader and guide, who so put his faith in Hashem, that he was able to lead the Jews out of Egypt and lead the Jewish people to Jerusalem. I am not saying that we are on the same level as Moses. I am saying, that with connection to Torah, to Mitzvah and to G-d, we can lead ourselves out of the darkness…

As we retell the story… as we sit around the Passover table with family and friends… as we realize the deep connection we all have… we must also let that small flame inside of us grow. We must literally feel a warmth… a light… For at this time… from Passover and Counting The Omer… to the 49 days… to getting the Torah… to Shavuot

For at this holy time… when we see our brethren suffering from a literal burning…

For at this time… when we have yet another opportunity to change… or return to the Holy Land… and return to ourselves… rebuild ourselves…

For at this time… as we ask the Four Questions, only our souls should be burning as we go deep and try to understand who we truly are, as people and as souls yearning to be filled and fulfilled…

At this time… only our souls should be burning.

May we all have a sweet and meaningful Pesach. Chag Sameach.

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