As this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I think of the women of this congregation whom we have lost to this terrible plague. And I suspect that we all know someone who has endured this ordeal, and the trauma that they experienced and the ongoing fear with which they live.
We are told that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and that it is second only to skin cancer as the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer among women. As a husband and as the father of two young women, I take this very personally and intend to be part of the struggle to overcome this plague. So I think: “What can I do to support this ongoing effort? Is it enough that I contribute money and wear a pink necktie throughout the month?” I suppose that it is more than nothing, and I would call upon the men of our congregation to do the same.
Yes, I can imagine the fear, if not terror, that women feel as they anticipate their annual mammogram. Surely, it’s a fear that is always there, and for good reason. But go forward with life we must, even as the older we get, the more likely that not only women will experience some form of serious illness even as we all share a fear of some form of cancer.
I like the wise and courageous words of Gilda Radner: “The goal is to live a full, productive life even with all that ambiguity. No matter what happens, whether the cancer never flares upon again or whether you die, the important thing is that the days that you have had you will have lived.”
Shabbat Shalom, and let us not take our blessings for granted. Yes, there is great wisdom in our religious tradition which declares: “Pray as if everything depended upon God, but act as though everything depends upon you.”
Rabbi David Greenberg