Practicing Patience

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),

As we head into Shabbat, we are getting closer to an outcome for the 2020 presidential election.

This week has been a prolonged period of not-knowing on top of the anxiousness so many have been feeling about the outcome. May shabbat bring moments of peace, perspective, and the chance to take a deep breath, as the weeks ahead likely will continue to be filled with tension, divisive rhetoric, and legal battles.

I have been thinking about the Hebrew word for patience, savlanut, which shares a root with the Hebrew word for “suffer (sovel).” Mussar, the Jewish ethical tradition, explains that the character trait of patience requires the willingness and ability to suffer discomfort. Right now, patience may include discomfort about the election’s implications for the direction of the country; discomfort about how messy the process of finalizing the outcome has been and could continue to be; discomfort knowing that while there are truths and values that each of us consider inviolable, half the country sees things differently than we do.

Patience is an ethical, spiritual, and emotional virtue that can be challenging on a normal day, let alone when it feels like the future of our country and our lives are hanging in the balance.

As we practice patience, let’s remember how inspiring our democratic process has been this week, with record voter turnout and the tireless dedication of poll workers and civic officials. We need to affirm our commitment to democratic ideals and norms ─ including free and fair elections, the peaceful and dignified transfer of power, and the rule of law with equal justice for all.

Let us also recommit ourselves to building a Jewish community that honors the dignity and humanity of all people, regardless of their race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ability, or religion. Especially during a period of prolonged tension and discomfort, how we treat one another will be critical for the healing and repair that our country so desperately needs. And when the dust settles from this election, we will have important work ahead. We need to work together for the common good and to ensure a just, compassionate, and connected community and country.

Thank you for your patience, your generosity, your commitment, and for staying in community with us. Please continue to stay safe, healthy, and hopeful.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Marc Baker

Marc Baker

About the Author

CJP President and CEO Rabbi Marc Baker is an educator, writer, and leadership mentor who is devoting his life to Jewish learning and building Jewish communities.