Shabbat Shalom: Emotional Downs and Ups – Standing on the Up

Apr 27, 2023 | Article

Shabbat Shalom: Emotional Downs and Ups – Standing on the Up

Apr 27, 2023

By: Bethany Friedlander
PJ Library Manager

In this weeks parsha Achrei Mot, we are reminded of the untimely and rather mysterious circumstances of the deaths of Aaron’s sons. We are then launched into a whole slew of laws. What must Aaron have been feeling at this moment of major loss when G-d commands him to “observe and faithfully follow My laws” (Leviticus 18:4)? 

As we look back on this past week, there is a sense of deep sadness and immense joy. We mourned our Israeli brothers and sisters on Yom HaZikaron and then celebrated 75 years of Israel’s Independence on Yom Ha’atzmaut. 

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to partake in these two intense days in Israel. I heard the long siren. I sat at Har Hertzl on Yom HaZikaron amongst parents of fallen soldiers. I partook in a delicious meal of schnitzel and Israeli salads alongside Israeli soldiers. I ran into the streets of Jerusalem as the sky lit up, the music played and everyone rejoiced. This all happened within 24 hours.  

To go from such sadness to extreme euphoria seems somewhat unbalanced, but maybe there is a reason we have such juxtaposition in our Jewish tradition. We mourn and equally are surrounded by our entire community. We fast for Yom Kippur and then gather to eat delicious foods. We talk about how we were slaves in Egypt and now are free to celebrate. G-d required Aaron to get up and fulfill his duties – to lead the people in performing the subscribed laws. There was little time for Aaron to dwell only on the sadness.  

Judaism, just like our emotions, offers the downs and ups that hopefully allow us to strive to get up onto those peaks. With our community standing with us, we can hopefully better weather the changing winds that blow us through challenges, pain, and sadness and continue to reach upward to the shining successes, proud moments, and brightly lit skies. 

Please email Bethany Friedlander at with questions or comments.