(Find the Virtual Shabbat Song Sheet, HERE – Sorry!)
You may or may not know this about me, but I am Trekkie — a life long Star Trek fan. I have been using some of the time forced upon us by our quarantine to revisit the Star Trek universe. (For those of you who might even care about the specifics, I have been greedily enjoying the new Picard series, I have been also watching Enterprise.). With this reboot of Star Trek values and principles at the now forefront of my ‘operating system’, there is one idea that seems to be speaking to me about this moment in time: “The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few.”
This piece of Vulcan logic seems to be normally out of place in our modern American culture. (And, indeed, even the Star Trek world turned the idea on its head.). Our culture trains, conditions and celebrates our being true to ourselves, our rugged individualism, and our creative self expression. Even our Jewish tradition enhances these values when it teaches us that to save a single soul, is to save an entire world.
And yet, it is not also an essential and value part of the human condition that we are wired to connect, love and live in community? Martin Buber (one of the Jewish thinkers who seems to have permanently rented a room in my mind) suggests that the only way we meet the divine is through that connecting, that relating to one another.
Covid-19 appears to be a severe teacher in reminding us how poorly we balance these two notions. Daily, even hourly, It teaches us what it means to remember that we live in an intricately interconnected web … and even if our individual selves cannot detect how we can and may impact one another, we most certainly do. And as difficult and even painful it may be to limit our individual expressions, freedoms and very selves … it is clear to me the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few.