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Holy Masking Batman

12/09/2023 10:30:12 PM


Words of the Spirit
Holy Masking, Batman!

As far as I know, Robin never said this on an episode of the delightfully campy television series of my childhood. Their masks were decidedly prosaic and chunky, the effects and the “dramatic action” hilarious. Nothing sacred about them!

In any version of the Batman artistic oeuvre, how or why they ever unmasked wouldn’t be relevant to our current usage, as their masks covered the upper part of their faces. But Robin’s “Holy _______, Batman” phrase still came to mind as I thought about our collective start to a new year – and our second decade – together. 

With a new variant and renewed rise in COVID 19 infections, along with the forthcoming winter flu season, our major local hospitals now require some face masking once again, including at Queensway-Carleton Hospital, where I serve on the Spiritual Care team. 

These changes feel even more laden as news circulates about the catastrophic failure of the provincial inspection system of long-term care facilities back in the early days of the global COVID pandemic. Yes, lining up these two things are like the proverbial apples and oranges, but what I’m thinking about is apples and honey, and our wishes to each other for a sweet and healthy new year.

We can do more than wish. We can make what we do to care for each other in our community and in our daily lives a part of our religious or spiritual practice. Personally, I’ll be taking on some “Holy Masking” during our forthcoming High Holiday services, other than during those times when I want to be sure I can be heard and understood from the bimah. 

I’m not a policy expert or a skilled interpreter of data, nor do I have any scientific or medical training. So I am not offering any advice from those realms. In the words of another fictional character, my job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” 

So I myself shall continue to be a little uncomfortable from time to time, in the hope that those efforts bring some safety and a sense of being cared for to those who feel most vulnerable. When we gather for Rosh Hashanah, for Shabbat Shuva, for Yom Kippur, at shul or at shared holiday dinner tables, may we all feel the blessing of care as we join in hopes for a year of well-being for us, for our dearest and nearest, and for those most in need in all places.

May 5784 bring joy, enable gratitude, and hold up holiness in all its manifestations. Lechayim! Shana tova umetuka! To life, and to all a good, sweet year.  

Rabbi Liz

Sat, 18 May 2024