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59http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2011/08/Rabbi-Lyon%27s-Blog---08_05_2011
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 08_05_2011
08/04/2011 11:00 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
August 5, 2011

                When we think of August, we think of heat. But, it’s not all about heat. August is also about transitions. For some of us, another school year is around the corner. It begins with a new kindergartner, a middle school child, a high school student, and, if you’re in my position, college students. Oh, the pictures we take and the memories we recall of days gone by so quickly. Someone once told me that the years with young children go by too fast. When I was in the thick of it, I didn’t understand; but, now I do. For others, August means that the Jewish New Year is coming though late in September, this year. It’s a milestone, too. On Rosh Hashanah, to be inscribed in the “Book of Life” is to wonder what the future will be. For others still, August means the coming New Year without loved ones who were once so near. Talk about time moving quickly. The heat is nothing compared to the emotional temperature we sweat through in August.

                If Moses knew anything about August, he would have been sweating, too.           This week’s Torah portion opens with the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy, we hear Moses’ last speeches to the Israelites whose future depended on their ability to maintain the covenant God was making with them. Moses implored them to remember the covenant, to keep the Sabbath, and to be holy as God is holy. In words and poems, he urged them to hold fast to all that they had come to know as a community and as a people singled out for service to God.

                In many respects, Moses was successful. He became a remarkable orator and guide. He overcame many of his younger impulses and mastered the role he was chosen to play. His hope was that as the Israelites made their way to the Promised Land they would regard their experiences as noble and their future as ordained. It required the people to believe that there was meaning in their difficult journey, and purpose in the direction that God was showing them. Moses truly stood on the threshold of a moment in time when the people would, at once, embrace what they were given and make it their very own.

                We have made successful transitions, too. We stood on the threshold of the kindergarten classrooms and with one more hug we told our children to remember everything they learned at home and how to be a star in the classroom. We graduated teenagers from high school who are leaving for college with all the advice and lessons they can hold, and with grand expectations for themselves now on their own. Sweating and nervous, we send them all on their way hoping that they will remember where they have been and what they were taught.

                We could do as Moses did and give speeches about everything they should remember and do. Better yet, we can be like Moses who hoped that his passion for everything that was sacred would sustain the Israelites along the way. The roads we and our children travel cannot be disconnected from the past, either; nor can they be unrelated to the faith that brought us to these times and places. August is a month of transitions and the New Year is both our finish line and our starting point. Grateful, we give thanks for what has already been and prepare to make a difference in the year to come. Like Moses, who faced what could not be changed; we become part of a future that is still unfolding. We pass the baton to those we meet along the way, from strength to strength and from generation to generation.

                From my desk to yours, Shabbat Shalom.

 

                Mark your calendars for August 26, 2011, and join us at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary for Jazz Shabbat, a welcome service for Congregation Beth Israel, our visitors and friends.

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