This post is part of the #blogelul project started by the inimitable Ima On (and off) the Bima. I am using it as my motivation to rejuvenate this site and get myself back into the swing of things.
This past week, we read in Parshat Shoftim about a situation where a dead body is found between two cities. The response to this is interesting – the elders of the closer of the two cities take responsibility performing a ritual where they declare their lack of responsibility – they did not kill this person, nor did they see it done.
Not that anyone was blaming them, mind you.
Rabbi Davidovich of Heights Jewish Center Synagogue chose this year to look at this situation metaphorically, by considering the people who are in some way “dead to us”. There are individuals in every shul, every town, every community who seem to fly under the radar. They don’t mean to, but they are the forgotten ones.
The NPR program “This American Life” recently ran a short item about “That One Guy at the Office” (listen here). In it, we hear about a young man who sits next to a printer. People see him 20, even 50 times a day. But nobody interviewed seems to know his name.
I think we all have moments like this – times when we feel like we’re living on a frequency just slightly off from everyone else, where we can see and hear them, but they can’t detect us. But some folks seem to life in this state.
It’s no coincidence that Parsah Shoftim (Judges) comes in the month of Elul. It is a call to look inward with unbiased eye. Which of our traits do we dwell on too much. Which of our bad habits do we let off too easily.
And which of our behaviors or attitudes exist completely undetected and un-addressed?