Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Restaurants, wedding venues, performance halls. Everything is opening up, slowly and with caution. This week's Torah portion is one of the saddest and one of the happiest. At the beginning, the sin of the golden calf occurs. The nation exchanges Moshe and the Torah for a golden calf and idol worship. But after this difficult event, happy tidings arrive: G-d forgives and absolves us of our sin. We turn the page, receive the second set of tablets, and begin anew.
Commentators explain that we are not talking about a rerun of the first giving of the Torah, but a more meaningful covenant. Now, after our distancing, a new closeness develops so that we are on a higher level than before. From now on, we will appreciate what we nearly lost.
We, too, after a year of distancing, are attempting to find our way back. But this is not a return to exactly where we were before. Our renewed closeness can be a harbinger of different and better human relationships. To really get excited about seeing grandma, about praying with a minyan in a synagogue, about the kids being with their friends every day at school. Not to return to the same routine, but to rise to a higher level. If only.