We are on a journey
from a Dvar Torah by Rabbi Kaya Stern -Kaufman of Rimon
We are all travelers, each of us, charting a course whose destination we cannot know. Sometimes we move in circles, sometimes forward, two steps to the left or right, straight ahead and right back where we started. For the Israelites, the Tabernacle at the center of the camp and the center of their lives gave tether and grounding to the wilderness journey. With a tether to the sacred source of life, one can navigate through the unknown twists and turns that inevitably arise on any journey.
And yet, there were times when the Tabernacle itself needed to be dismantled. There were times when the Cloud of Glory would lift, and the people heeded the call to move forward. At such times, the sacred center itself needed to be taken apart for the sake of the journey. The Levites were charged with guarding and protecting the parts which made up the whole and carrying them until the next encampment when they would re-assemble the sacred space.
There are indeed times when breaking down and taking apart something that was a sacred whole is a necessary, though painful step in being able to move forward. There are times when Truth calls to us so loudly- so strongly, that we must move from the place we have been to an unknown destination. Perhaps you can recall times in your own lives when you heeded such a call. Maybe you are hearing that voice now, in some way. Certainly this has been the case in our collective story as a people and perhaps more so now than ever, it is the current story in the life of humankind. There is a current call for change that is so imperative, on so many levels. Our newly emerging understanding of the profound level of interdependence within which all life exists- whether biological, social, economic, or environmental provokes us to reconsider all the structures we have created.
And so I ask us to all to consider, what are the structures that we need to disassemble in order to move forward, toward a better world? They may be physical structures, but likely, they are internal structures within our consciousness- belief systems, values and judgments.
What I see in the wisdom of Torah is that while we may need to dismantle something that once was whole, something that served us in the past, we must also protect and carry forward those very same pieces to a new place and time, so that the holy can be reassembled and serve the greatest good.
My prayer for each of us is that we access the strength and courage to listen to the Divine call as we hear it, the endurance to move patiently forward, and the commitment to bring all of our sacred pieces along with us.