This year, our theme, Im Ein Ani Li Mi Li, אם אין אני לי מי לי, is often credited to the great Rabbi Hillel which translates to: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
I strongly believe this theme offers us a road map for this year. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” signifies that we must protect ourselves and our families from this deadly virus. We must wear masks, wash our hands frequently, and keep a safe distance from each other. It’s also important to understand these actions help not only us but help to keep our larger community safe.
In addition, we must uphold the meaning of “If I am only for myself, what am I?” We must ask, what am I without caring about those in my community?
And lastly, “If not now, when?” reminds us that chesed, our acts of kindness, cannot wait. If a family in our community becomes ill, they might need immediate help with meals now, and not later. If we currently can’t give the amount of tzedakah we’d like to give, we could give what we can now.