Seven months ago we felt we were in great shape. Synagogue was a place we looked forward to being and all we had to do was show up.
Then the unexpected happened. A pandemic reared its ugly head and we lost our bearings. Synagogue? It has existed on a computer screen where people talk to each other through a rough app called zoom. We can see and hear one another, but it pales in terms of what we had before.
Should we just give up? That would be the expected thing, right?
But wait a minute. Think of Sarah. Her deepest wish was to have her own child. Now at a late menopausal age, when it would seem impossible for this to occur, she is told by HaShem that she will indeed have a child. She laughs her head off and, as a result, her newborn son gains a name: Itzhak.
A little too cheerful for your taste? The very next portion, which we read on the second day, has unexpected happenings to the fourth degree. First of all, out of the blue, HaShem tells Abraham to take his son up the mountain and sacrifice him. Secondly, Abraham, with heavy heart, agrees. And thirdly, what of Yitzhak? Does he resist? He does not. So there we all are expecting the worst.
But it doesn’t happen. HaShem sends an angel (who else?) to tell Abraham to cease and desist. All of a sudden a ram appears and so for the fourth time in this story, the unexpected happens: Abraham gains a special status from HaShem for himself and for his descendants.
And we’re worried about Zoom working or not? Here’s something unexpected: we have expanded services from our usual one to seven, and in two languages. Not only that, but some of the services are here in the Chapala-Guadalajara area and at least three are in the United States. Enjoy! L’shana tova!