And ends with selflessness.
It starts with community members who sought for themselves what they thought was the ultimate power over their people without mentioning the responsibilities that come with a position of leadership.
The parashah ends with the command to the Levites to tithe, to give a tenth of all they had received from the people, back to God. Those serving the people were reminded that they were ultimately like everyone else, even while performing special duties of worship and leadership.
That lesson was one of humility, but it was also intended to elevate their souls in order to gain a divine perspective of respect and care for all of the people.
In light of this message, I offer this prayer:
Keep our views, our perspectives, andour intentions, holy and high. Raise us up above pettiness and human conflict so that your teachings will serve as a beacon for us, to guide us in how we can best serve our community.
Enable us to help and to hear those in need, so that they will be able to live with hope and security.
Direct us to help and hear one another, so that we will achieve an understanding that will result in our willing and natural cooperation.
Give us confidence to overcome our fears when the prospect of change or the threat of discrimination or prejudice prevent us from taking bold steps forward that could enrich our knowledge, our relationships and our lives.
Bless us with Your nearness, Your mercy and Your love.
And let us say Amen.