Parashat Vayeilech

Friday, September 10, 2021/4 Tishrei, 5782
Parashat Vayeilech Deuteronomy 31:1–30

Dear Friends,

In this week’s Torah Portion, Moses is nearing the end of his life, and God instructs him to prepare the People of Israel for new leadership, and a new future. Moses announces that he is 120 years old, on this day, and prepares Joshua to take on the mantle of leadership.

It is no coincidence that we read this portion, each year, at this time. The Days of Awe, the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are days of annual transition. We bid goodbye to the previous year, as we welcome the newness of the next year. We spend important time of self-reflection, as we take an accounting of all that was good about the past year, while repairing all the ways in which we may have fallen short. Accordingly, we ask forgiveness for those moments, not just to make amends, but so that we can enter the New Year, putting the past in the past and raising our gaze toward the future.

Indeed, we have many transitions at this time of year, whether it is sending our children off to college or new schools, or just watching as the seasons begin to change, from Summer to Fall. At Temple Beth El, we are raising our gaze toward an incredible transitional year, as we begin to take an account of the first 100 years of our community. What worked? Why are we still here? What parts of the past do we celebrate and hold on to, and to which parts are we prepared to bid farewell? We take this accounting, as we prepare to celebrate our 100th Anniversary Year, in 2022, when we too, like the Israelites, are on the precipice of a new tomorrow. Who will we be for the next 100 years? How will we welcome even more people to experience Temple Beth El, and all of its joys, programs, and spiritual growth? When we understand how we survived the first 100 years, will we have a vision for the next 100?

I feel like our transitions in this coming year are not unlike the Israelites in Vayeilech. So much wonder, so much unknown, but so much to which we can look forward. As we embark on this journey together, may we be guided by our greetings during these High Holy Days – May we be inscribed for a year when we celebrate our lives and the life of our vibrant community, and may well all know a year that is filled with goodness, as we include everybody along the way with the goodness of our welcoming hearts and welcoming community.

Shabbbat Shalom,
Cantor Ilan Davidson