Parashat B’midbar

Friday, May 22, 2020 /28 Iyar, 5780
Parashat B’midbar Numbers 1:1−4:20

Dear Friends,

This week, we begin a new book of Torah, a new chapter in the history of the Jewish people. Parashat Bamidbar literally means “in the desert.” So many of us have been feeling as though we are traversing through the Midbar these days. Feeling a veritable wasteland of loneliness, sometimes only being able to see isolated “sand” for as far as the eye can envision. While others of us have discovered an “oasis” either through time for reflection, projects we were able to pick up again, or “zoom” gatherings, which remind us that we are not alone. As we wander in this Covid desert, we must remember that we are not alone. We are all together in this and responsible for each other’s well being.

Even while wandering through the desert, this portion reminds us that we were never alone, nor forsaken by God. The Levites would carry the various parts of the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary, for which they were responsible, setting it up wherever they needed to, and God’s presence would fill the space. This is not unlike our programs, services, and offerings we are presenting through Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube these days. Each and every time we fill the room with Zoom participants, we are filling it with the Divine Holy presence of community. When we build it, God is there. Wherever we join together, we ignite the Divine spark and fill the space with Holy light.

Finally, this portion begins with a Census of all of us who were wandering in the desert together. Moses needed to know who was there with him. Temple Beth El has embarked upon a census, too. Tonight, Doris Jacobson, our Open Tent Coordinator for the Temple will address us at services. She will share with us more about what Open Tent is, and the recent Census you all received in your email this week. I can’t impress upon you enough how important it is to our Temple Community that each and every one of you fills out and returns the census as soon as possible. We value the input, both positive and constructive, that all of our community has to offer, and know that with this information, we will be able to help all of us traverse the Bamidbar together.

May we always know the presence of the Divine which we ignite together, and may we continue to traverse this desert, taking time to stop at our Oases and enjoy our community. We wish you all a blessed Shabbat, and look forward to greeting you at Temple Beth El, virtually, this evening and for all of our upcoming programs.

Shabbat Shalom,
Cantor Ilan Davidson