#BlogElul 20: Fill


This one had me a little stumped. I’m really not sure what Rabbi Sommer means by it – but that’s OK, it’s up to me to imbue it with meaning anyway.

There are many possible interpretations of the word “fill” – we can eat our fill, we can fill our hearts or our hands, we can fill the synagogue (wouldn’t that be nice??) and so on.

All of these come down to the image of a hole that needs to be filled – some kind of vacancy, a lack or a loss. I’m wondering whether Rabbi Sommer was thinking, consciously or not, of what she calls the Sam-shaped hole in her life. That is a hole that can never be filled, although something can be done with deeds of lovingkindness and generosity in his memory – and I know that Rabbi Sommer and her family are mightily engaged in those things, especially in this month of September.

Most of us have been blessed not to have that kind of hole in our lives, but everyone has something – some grief or sorrow that has left a void, something that we seek to fill. People spend their lives numbing the pain of this void with alcohol, drugs, sex or work, but those things cannot provide more than temporary relief.

Like Rabbi Sommer and her family, the best way to deal with this void is to provide service, love and generosity to others. Not to numb the pain, not to distract from the feelings, but to give meaning and purpose to that which seems otherwise nothing but random and cruel. Check out the links above to see what she is doing.

While some voids cannot be filled, we can do the best we can to provide meaning and solace, by giving to others. It’s all we can do.

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