DAY 614: The Path To An Individual’s Redemption Is Through A Community

March 6, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 614: The Path To An Individual’s Redemption Is Through A Community

Dear Hevreh,

One of the benefits of being the rabbi in our community is being able to help facilitate and offer opportunities for the teaching of Torah by members of our congregation, such as Sharon Bender, Gary Blog, Harriet Pearlman, and most recently Marc Fertik who delivered the D’var Torah this past week while I was away in Scranton. These moments are especially beneficial for me because at times I can get very caught up in my own “rabbinic mind” of how to interpret and teach Jewish wisdom and hearing interpretations of Torah from new voices stemming from the unique Torah of their life experiences helps me reimagine what Torah can teach.   

This past week was no different as Marc graciously shared with me the written version of his D’var Torah (which, he wants to be clear, is not the full replica of the extemporaneous delivery of his D’var Torah). His primary message, that Moses’ accounting of the gifts to the Temple teaches us that the path to an individual’s redemption is through a community, is an important one for our community. It reminds us that our tradition has always seen the community as the vehicle for us to realize our personal spiritual and emotional goals.

Yet perhaps, to play off one of the other themes of Marc’s D’var Torah which you can read here on our website, we don’t necessarily trust spiritual communities to actually make a difference in helping us fulfill the goals of our lives. They’re nice places to come to occasionally, but they aren’t integral to our personal lives. Perhaps we have been jaded by our (lack of) spiritual experiences in the past that we can’t imagine what real spiritual growth looks like. As Marc writes, “cynicism is a seductive whisper that often cannot tell the difference between good and bad.” Trusting the fact that our community can be something “mamash,” something real, as opposed to something “nice” comes when we are willing to step beyond the borders of what we already believe we know to look at our lives with new eyes. And coincidentally enough those new eyes seem to appear when more of us, like Sharon, Gary, Harriet, and Marc among others, shares some of our unique Torah with the community. My eyes were certainly renewed.

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Ari Saks

P.S. If you are interested in giving a D’var Torah or in learning on how to give a D’var Torah, please let me know.


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