Rabbi Sydni's Shabbat Sermons

פרשת בהעלתך, תש״פ

Parshat B'ha'alotkha, 5780

by Rabbi Sydni

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

I Miss This - A Blessing

I miss this moment in the service…

Va-y'hi binsoa ha-aron, vayomer Moshe...

And the bittersweet moment after the Torah reading, when as we put the Torah away we mumble…

Uvnuho yomar, shuvah Adonai riv'vot alfei Yisrael.

That beginning moment works as a moment of power in numbers. We are enough of a community that we can take out this Torah and bask in its wisdom. And at the end of the service, we’ve had our fill; we’ve felt the comfort of hearing the words of our tradition and knowing they are ours.

Based on commentary from rabbis of old, along with my own reading of Numbers 10:35-36 , I’d like to share a reflection and a blessing for this community.

Va-y'hi binsoa ha-aron

And when the ark travels…

When the ark opens, we know what to do. We stand with respect. We kiss with love.

We go through the motions not just for motions’ sake but because that ark represents our identity.

The Torah inside is the Torah of our ancestors, the Torah we stand by, the Torah of those who will come after us.

Vayomer Moshe, kumah Adonai v'yafutzu oyvekha v'yanusu m'sanekha mipanekha!

And Moses says, “Rise up, Adonai, and let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee from before you!”

When we hold the Torah, we feel physical prowess, weight, the ability to do anything at all.

The Torah is our sword and our shield against those who fling insults and violence against us, against all we know to be true

As the Torah is read, we settle back in our seats and learn how to defend and attack and share our truth, share our confidence in who we are, what we believe.

We tap into Torah, we see our image in the face of the Almighty. We become almighty.

Uvnuho yomar, shuvah Adonai riv'vot alfei Yisrael.

And when it rested, he said: Return, Adonai, unto the families of the thousands of Israel

The Torah travels back to the ark

Children rush into the room to say goodbye

To prove that in just a few years, they’ll carry the weight

Shuvah - return

We return to the outside world more knowing than before

Shuvah - rest

We sit back in our seats conscious of the support of our God, our community, our traditions

God rests among us, sighing with relief at the love and honor we carry

May we return to this room when the time is right, wielding the Torah we’ve learned while absent from this room.

May we return to surprise and delight at that chorus, sometimes that cacophony of voices we’ve missed so dearly

May we take this time to rest from this space and discover the Torah present elsewhere.

May we hold onto those discoveries to share with our רבבות, our congregational family, in time to come.