This was an interesting photo moment at Whole Foods--this Valentine's Day huggy bear sitting among all the apples.
Sort of how I felt after synagogue today and at other times.
I've learned the importance as my father had so often tried to teach me of going to synagogue.
Yes, the prayer and service to Hashem.
But also the community.
We all need people.
None of us is an island.
At synagogue, aside from the opportunity to speak and be close with G-d, I appreciate the hearty calls of "Shabbat Shalom," the embracing handshakes, hugs and occasional kisses, the chance to see and kiss the holy Torah, and being among friends.
Like the apples, we're all sort of the same, yet unique, and we stand together.
As apples, we all have our glowing and shiny outsides, a sweet inner core, and also plenty of juicy meat.
People too put on their best clothes, shoes, and do themselves to look their best going to synagogue, and inside they are there to express their goodness with G-d and the community.
Also though, you hear plenty of the heartbreaking stories about what is happening to them as families and individuals.
Sure, there are the lovely smachot (happy occasions) in their and our lives to celebrate, but there is also plenty of adversity and challenges faced daily.
One member passed away this week, another is getting cancer treatments, and someone got hit by a car crossing the street and is in the hospital with literally 79 screws holding their ribs together!
Then there are those out looking for work, others suffering from bad marriages or getting divorced, someone with a sick child that needs lifelong care, and someone who even got robbed this week.
Yes, shiny on the outside and with the sweetness of souls and hearts, and yet everyone has their baskets of challenges to deal with.
For someone like me, I literally feel it inside for people--it's like I can almost imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes.
Obviously, I can't--no one really can--but I imagine myself and ask myself OMG what in the world would I do--and of course, I have no real idea.
Synagogue is I guess the most perfect place to experience all this--since we are before G-d, asking for his blessings and mercy, and with others, we bond to who are all in the same boat paddling and trying to survive and live a full and meaningful life. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)