Rabbi Allan’s Message – Friday, May 26
It’s hard to believe that this is my second last Friday as Temple Shalom’s pulpit rabbi, but I might as well end it on a “high”, as in at the top of Mount Sinai. Yesterday evening, two congregations joined for a learning session as the festival holiday of Shavuot began, what the ancient rabbis described as the time when we received the ten commandments/suggestions at Mount Sinai.
It is the spiritual culmination – or perhaps the beginning – of our Jewish journey, the slow steady spiritual climb over 49 days from when our ancestors left Egypt and slavery behind, to when they heard those words for the first time. Last night, as is our custom, we opened up a Torah scroll and read those words out again, those basic and profound declarations that shape what it is to live spiritually and ethically in community with others.
It occurred to me that we do that same spiritual climb (counting the days of the Omer) every year, and we reread those Torah words as well…perhaps because we simply need to do so. Living in a healthy spiritual way is not easy. It is an idea or ideal that we can readily embrace, but it is actually quite hard to implement day in and day out, and even in the small interactions of each day. Our minds are like sieves. We just kinda forget stuff.
So, every year, like clockwork, we have the opportunity to refresh and refocus, and to be reminded of the incredible lore of spiritual/ethical/religious teachings that are available to all of us from any number of sources if we choose to pause and look.
We become better human beings when we do so, and we invariably commit to a healthier community when we do our parts. And when enough of us choose that path, well, that is where the magic of healthy people and healthy community begins.
Shabbat shalom, Rabbi Allan