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Your best will be good enough

05/15/2020 12:03:23 PM

May15

Ira Greschler, Immediate Past President

 

Divar Torah 5/3/20

It happens that I gave a d’var to the board about this Torah portion two years ago. Instead of repeating that d’var, I will revisit the first d’var I gave during my first year on the board, at the board retreat of 2011.

This is a midrash about the origins of the Shema prayer.

It is said that Jacob was the seal of the forefathers. Of all our forefathers Jacob is said to be the most perfect, an Eish Tam (a complete person). Jacob's death is said to have been a perfect death. 

When Jacob lay dying his twelve sons were with him. Because he was a great sage, God had revealed to Jacob what would happen at the time of the coming of the messiah. Jacob wanted to tell his sons about the time of the messiah, but he could not. God clouded his mind so that Jacob could not remember or could no longer see what was to come at the time of the messiah. 

Jacob was afraid that he could not remember what was to come at the time of the messiah. Jacob was afraid that God had clouded his mind because one of his children was unfit. 

One of Abraham's children was Ishmael who was not to be a member of the covenant. One of Isaac’s children was Essau who was not to be a member of the covenant. Jacob (who was given the name Israel by God after he wrestled with an angel) was afraid that one of his children would likewise not become a member of the covenant. Jacob told his children, but he could not reveal what the future held and his fear as to why he could not. 

Jacob’s children, who represented all the 12 tribes of Israel, responded Shema Israel Adonai eloheynu Adonai echad, (hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one) so that Jacob would know that they all believed in the one God. Jacob responded baruch shem k’vod malchuto l’olam vaed. (Blessed is God’s name and God’s kingdom forever).

First of all, I am not Jacob, God has never revealed to me what will happen at the time of the messiah or what the future holds for Har HaShem. I can tell you that everything I envisioned for Har HaShem nine years ago is now a reality.

We have a very strong board supported by a robust committee structure, we have an amazing staff and the temple is in good condition financially.

Even if I thought God had revealed the future to me it would not be for me to say. Now is your time, for your vision and your leadership.

Just like Jacob and his sons, I know that you are all up to this. You are all strong, smart, educated, experienced, and ready to lead. Jacob’s household was 70 when he went down to Egypt, they became a great nation. Har HaShem can be a great institution in American Reform Judaism, you can help lead the way.

There have been times during my service on this board when we were confronted with difficult or even seemingly impossible situations. We worked hard, we did the best we could, and somehow it has always been enough.

The Baal Shem Tov said “Before a thing is transformed into something, it must come to the level of nothingness. This is how a miracle comes about, changing the laws of nature. First the thing must be elevated to the emanation of nothingness. Influence then comes from that emanation to produce the miracle.” 

On this board during my time here have been many occasions when we were confronted with situations for which there seemed to be no possible resolution. We did our best to the point that there was simply nothing left to do. Just when it appeared we had nothing, there somehow was something. For an example of this we do not have to look back any farther than the Harmony+Hops celebration that took place yesterday.

When the quarantine made it impossible for us to have Harmony+Hops as we have had for the last several years, we thought the event was ruined. We started to plan a budget with no income from what was intended to be our signature annual fundraising event. The committee decided that it would do what it could and put together an online event. We thought it would at least bring our community together even if it raised little money. Instead Harmony+Hops raised all of the money in the original budget.

I could go on and on….

My final words to you, the leaders of this congregation, in this last d’var is “HAVE FAITH…your best will be good enough.”

May this congregation continue to be worthy of God’s favor.

Thu, October 29 2020 11 Cheshvan 5781