Rabbi Robinson’s sermon March 11 2022

How do you know when someone is calling out to you?

I do not just mean the confusion that can happen in a supermarket or on the street when someone tries to get your attention, waving at you because they think you are their Uber. I mean, when you are in conversation with somebody, how do you know if you understand what they are trying to communicate to you?

This week’s portion, which is also the beginning of the book of Leviticus, begins with the word ויקרא, God called. Anyone who ever celebrated a bar or bat mitzvah knows that most sentences begin with either ויאמר or sometimes, וידבר, God spoke. We only see Vayikra 5 times in Torah: for example, when God seeks out Adam and Eve in the garden, at the burning bush, on mount Sinai, and here. Rashi tells us that this word is always an invitation by God to intimacy, a softer moment of connection. Lest we think God only communicates in thunder and fire, these moments, ויקרא, are just as important, if not more important. It is the same with us: it is not the hell across the street that gets our undivided attention. It is the quiet moment shared over a glass of wine or cup of coffee where the other across the table calls to us–for help, for understanding, for acknowledgement, for connection.

The people in our lives call out to us, sometimes in their lost vulnerable moments, and sometimes in ways that are hard to discern, that require us to listen carefully, and respond with love. And sometimes, it is us who is issuing the call. May we issue and respond to that call from a place of holiness. Amen.