Bamidbar. The desert. The beginning of freedom. But with freedom comes resonsibilities.
Our parshah counts the children of Israel; it has its strengths. Similarly, we must count our strengths:
What resources do we have? How are they distributed?
Bamidbar describes the names of tribal leaders. Who are the people that matter to us? Our shutafim/companions? Our partners in the Brit, the Covenant?
Our parshah describes a task of vital importance: the organization of the tent of meeting (also called tent of Ohel Moed.) What are the essential tasks in our lives? What are our values?
Finally, Bamidbar divides this great project into different stages, and distributes these tasks to different groups who are responsible for them. What small steps must we take in order to move forward with our projects?
For 2,500 years, Jewish civilization has been asking these questions. It asks them of every Jew, to make it possible for each one of us to grow and evolve. This is the true meaning of Halachah, walking the path. From one generation to the next generation, the Halachah maps for us the land and sets guidelines and looks for the best ways to implement them.
Judaism calls on us all to take the freedom we enjoy and put it to work to build and get ready, while we are still in the desert. Thus, we will have put in place the essential foundations when we arrive in the land of Israel. Judaism also invites all the people within the community to ask these questions so as to continuously rework and improve upon the answers.
Beth Shalom is a dynamic synagogue. We have always been engaged in seeking new ways to help Jewish people hear and respond to Judaism’s ancestral wisdom. Thus, as we advance, we must also count ourselves, evaluate our resources, find partners, share tasks and communicate with one another as we travel the path that is ours, as individuals and as a congregation.
The end of the year approaches. The year 5770 is moving into its last quarter. If you want to talk about the future, more than ever, contact us.