KABBALAT SHABBAT - February 20, 2015Adam and Juli,
A little while ago, I was writing my message to you in the hotel business center. When I stopped for a moment to say hello to one of the guests for the weekend, the computer logged me out and, well, there went my text. That was likely God's way of telling me to speak to you from the heart.
The Torah reading for this Shabbat, TERUMAH, speaks about the Israelites bringing gifts for the building of the Tabernacle, "as their hearts so moved them" (Exodus 25:2). This wording could be used to describe how the two of you have come together. There were many reasons that you grew close, but I believe that it was your hearts that moved you to be together, so that you could share your gifts with one another.
And what were those gifts? For the Israelites, those gifts were yarns of different colors, gold and silver, wood, stones for setting, and oil for lighting. We all have experienced the gifts that you share with each other because you have shared many of them with us: wisdom, humor, a desire to serve others, enthusiasm, creativity, and a developing coordinated sense of adventure.
And where do those gifts lead you? We read in Exodus, Chapter 25, verse 8, "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them." I can still remember my home rabbi, William Silverman, speaking about this passage and saying, "It doesn't say 'that I may dwell IN IT,' but, instead, its says 'among them.'" Adam and Juli, the two of you have already begun to create your small sanctuary, a MIKDASH M'AT through mutual respect, partnership and love. Those characteristics of your relastionship demonstrate that God is with the two of you together. And all of us who are here - family members and friends - offer you further support as a foundation for your MIKDASH. Our prayer for you is that the MIKDASH that you continue to create will be strong for many years to come.
HAVDALAH - February 21, 2015
Adam, on the day you were born, Mom and I were leaving the house to go to the hospital. We stopped, looked around, and Mom said, "It's never going to be the same here again." And it wasn't - and we are glad it wasn't because we had you in our lives.
I was leaving our hotel room this afternoon to come over to this venue, and I said to myself something very similar, "When I come back to this room tonight, I will have a married son and I will be father-in-law, and, likely, have one more person calling me 'Dad.'"
Each of those realizations were about making a separation between one phase of life and another. And here we are, preparing to bid farewell to this Shabbat and welcome a new week. What I normally say about Shabbat in relation to my work in the community these days is that Shabbat is a time to reflect on how to make the world a better place in the coming week and to begin to plan what I can do to realize that goal.
This Havdalah is special, though, because we have here a special circle of friends and family who will sign the Ketubah and marriage license and offer prayers for you before we go out to the actual wedding ceremony. While we will always be here for you, we know that you will be the ones who will imagine, together, how to share your special talents and gits with each other and with the world. This moment - and every Shabbat - will offer you space to dream of how you can make a difference. As we go out to the ceremony, and as you face the world together afterwards as husband and wife, we know that you will continue to discover new ways to bring your spirit to everyone around you.
In this new week, and in your married life, we wish for you every possible opportunity to touch the lives of others as you build your home with light, joy and love.