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The Holiest Moments Outside of Our Sanctuary

11/06/2023 07:45:33 AM



Sometimes we focus so much on what is happening inside our sanctuary that we might not notice the beautiful moments that happen outside our sanctuary. Yes, the sanctuary is truly the central focus of what brings us all together. Our Beit Knesset - our house of gathering, our Beit Tefillah, house of prayer is the reason we exist. But, what we do in our sanctuary is hopefully an inspiration for all the moments we spend outside of the sanctuary. The communal prayers, the songs we sing and the torah we learn are all meant to influence our actions in our daily lives. The shema reminds us each day of our daily mission to remember the commandments when we lie down, when we rise up and when we walk by the way. In other words, every moment of our lives. 

I have glimmers of how our community "walks the talk". Just this week (and I am writing this on Monday, so the week has just begun), I have collected some "holy moments" that remind me what a special community this truly is. Yesterday I received an email from a bar mitzvah mom thanking me for preparing her son. But, as well, she told me that her son chose to donate all the leftovers from their celebration to a soup kitchen. So, the very day after he became a bar mitzvah he engaged in an act of kindness of generosity that was very appreciated deeply by the recipients. As well, yesterday, I got another email from another congregant informing us that the meal train they have been conducting for months has at last concluded because the recipient is now able to resume preparing her own meals. On Sunday a few of us went to sing Yiddish songs with Pauline Hahn who is recuperating from a fall. Pauline is  the teacher of the "Yiddish through Song class" on Zoom. We enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon outdoors and hopefully brought some healing vibes to Pauline as we sang and she taught and gave us her expert insights into the songs. 

And we have so many communal projects as well which turn our lobby and our kitchen into places of holiness. The rabbi has organized  an ongoing "kichel cookie baking project" to donate cookies to the Dover Faith Kitchen lunches. We help sponsor food drives, toy drives all year long. A core element of our bar and bat mitzvah program is mitzvah projects about which you can read in our monthly newsletter. Our most current projects included a collection of Lego bricks to donate to those in need to the planting of daffodils in memory of the children who were killed by the Nazis. 

One of our modern day sages put it this way. He said that the the synagogue is not intrinsically holy.  Rather, the synagogue becomes holy when the synagogue members are out and about doing mitzvot; even the Torah scrolls become holy only when congregants are engaged in acts of chesed, compassion and kindness, outside the building.

May we continue to hallow our sanctuary.


Mon, July 15 2024 9 Tammuz 5784