What does it mean to support one another? What does it look like to be supported by others? Support is such a funny word. Are we physically supporting our friends and loved ones? Are we emotionally or intellectually supporting those for whom we care? If we support someone, does that mean we give them our pledge to always agree with them, to always put their priorities and choices ahead of our own?
However, at the same time, I believe we can support others without necessarily agreeing with everything that is being said. In those cases, support is shown by holding a friend’s hand on a difficult journey, helping them to see their vision ahead, or even allowing them to understand and reflect in a certain way. Our support, in these cases, may not always be incumbent upon agreeing with what is being said, but we lend a shoulder on which to lean, an ear through which to listen.
Sometimes, support is the physical way in which we help to hold others up. We literally support people by lifting them out of difficult situations, especially when they might be blind to the reality of life and living. In these cases, support is given neither in a judgmental way nor in a derogatory way. Support is not always agreement, but rather a way to show your embrace of another’s idea, belief or action.
It is not coincidence that the word for support incorporates the root of Amen. Amen comes from the word meaning belief, and when we support others, we illustrate our belief in them. We also show a simple foundation for the way they live life. Support is often portrayed as encouragement, friendship, comfort, assistance and championship.
During the month of Elul, as we prepare for the New Year, may we be of support to those who are in need. May we allow others to support us as we strive to be better ourselves during this next year. May our support be given without obligation or instruction, so that we are truly understanding of the mitzvah of supporting our loved ones. And may our Amen’s ring loudly!
Now let the sound of the shofar be heard;
And let our souls be awakened!
Rabbi Debbie Bravo
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