- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On June 8, 2018
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
Last night, we gathered for our Annual Gathering, a wonderful celebration in the life of the congregation. I share with you an excerpt of what I said:
“We can surely be uplifted! Aloh na’aleh!”
is the theme for our Annual Gathering. These words come from this week’s Torah portion. (Numbers 14:30) Moses, by God’s command, sent scouts into the land of Canaan, the focal point of great promise. At the end of 40 days, they raced back to Moses with their report. The good news was that it flowed with milk and honey, and they brought back fruit of the land. The bad news overwhelmed them with fear. The large, fortified cities and the towering inhabitants and powerful groups of people situated all over the area made them feel as small as a grasshopper.
One of the scouts, Caleb, remained undeterred. He offered the positive approach of the Israelite community’s inner resource to overcome any challenge.
Aloh na’aleh! We can surely go up. We can surely lift ourselves up. We can surely be uplifted.
And then he added like Rosie the Riveter. We can do it. Yachol nuchal!
There are many interpretations to explain the reaction of the scouts. On this night, as we look back and ahead, I propose that one way to understand what happened is that the scouts actually entered the future. They trekked into what could be but recoiled from it. Encountering the unknown raised “fear and doubt and grave despair” as one prayer describes. Caleb provided the counter argument. “Let the future uplift us” is the essence of what he says. “We have what it takes to get there.”
They did have what they needed. And we, this community of Temple Israel of Boston and everyone in its orbit, do, too…
The future is not intractable but malleable. We have the capacity to make it feel more predictable. As a number of innovative folks have noted in the tech world: The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
Our capacity to be at the growing edge of innovation, to trust our crazy ideas and make them happen, and to cultivate and nourish the people who make up our community will ensure that we can be the ones to invent the future.
All of us are scouts into the future. We know there are challenges-budgets, number of people engaged, competition, apathy, and anti-Semitism. The list is long. We can feel overwhelmed and diminished to the very size of grasshoppers. All of these challenges, however, motivate and inspire us to face them head on and assert our inner strength and resolve. We have one another and a truth that Judaism and Jewish living provide us with the resources we need. We will carry this congregation of Temple Israel of Boston into the future together.
We can surely be uplifted!
We can definitely do it!
Tonight, we welcome Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, President-elect of Hebrew College who, as our Wyner Lecture Scholar, will engage us in “Contemporary Israeli Poetry and the Search for God.” Join together for a wonderful and enlightening Qabbalat Shabbat experience at 6:00 p.m. If you cannot make it to temple, live stream HERE.
Tot Rock for children five and under accompanied by their parents begins at 5:00 p.m. and Soul Food Friday for the Riverway Project (20s and 30s) begins at 7:00 p.m.
Tomorrow morning, we study Torah starting at 9:00 a.m. with a short service followed by a lively discussion.
I look forward to your thoughts. Share them with me HERE.