This is the moment

D’var Torah
Rabbi David Benjamin Fainsilber
5 Nisan 5777 // March 31, 2017
Mishkan/Tabernacle.  2017.  Bar Mitzvah.
This is the moment…

This is the moment.
The work; the holy work;
the hours of painstaking process;
the inner resilience;
the desire to strive for better;
the generosity of heart and hand and time;
all of the gifts brought to reach this holy moment in time.
This is the moment we have all been preparing for.

Months of detailed craft work in order to follow G-d’s design,
to build a most perfect dwelling place for G-d’s Presence on earth –
a Mishkan/a Tabernacle in the wilderness.
Moses’ gloriously glowing face descending G-d’s mountain,
revealing the long road and work ahead…
The designing, measuring, chopping, sawing, drilling, woodworking,
craftsmanship and metalwork;
the creation of the Priestly garb for the Kohanim:
measuring, sewing, weaving, extracting, dying.
The filled-hearts of Betzalel and Aholiav,
the artists and craftspeople of the Mishkan,
each imbued with the holy, purposeful task of crafting
the Holy of Holies:
a place where Moses, Aaron, and his sons,
and most importantly, where the people
will come to commune with G-d.
We have prepared for this moment
in order to offer our most precious gifts to the Holy Blessed One.

It hasn’t all been pretty to get to this moment.
A Pharaoh who forgot Joseph,
generations of slavery to a King tyrant,
a quick exit of uncertainty:
Where will we go?  To what purpose do we leave?
An endless list of complaints along the way,
leading, ultimately, to a golden calf.
We have made our mistakes on this journey.
We have been lost and found and lost again,
only to be found yet again.

Yet, this week in our Torah portion of Vayikra,
we have arrived at the moment to offer our gifts to G-d,
the very reason why we left Egypt in the first place,
to be a free people,
free from bondage, from free corruption,
free from fear itself, and full of life.
This whole journey, the good and the ugly, all of it
is the truth that has brought us to the here and now.

Yet this too is the moment we have all been preparing for.
This 5777 year, a pivotal time in our history as Jews,
a history of war and oppression, of life and love and heartache,
of families building on deep values and wisdom
of generations, despite the heartache,
of love and foundations in the community-at-large,
and also the fear of threat.
So too, 2017, an unprecedented time in history of unrest,
a ripple effects of the unknown around the globe.
A time of reevaluation for all.

It has hardly been pretty to get to this moment.
We live in a time of targeting of oppressed peoples,
of war and oppression, of ever changing news and of heartache.
Even we, we Vermonters, we Jews,
who live in the safe havens of New England,
we too know that now is not the time
to sit back and allow time to pass us by.

Now is the time we have been preparing for,
to kindle the lights of our deepest values,
to unlock the wisdom of the generations,
to bring G-d’s dwelling place upon earth,
and to move forward towards a redemption that
even our ancestors preparing the Tabernacle
could not have imagined.

And this too is the moment we have all been preparing for.
Stacey and Craig, your resilience to build your dream community
here in Vermont is coming to fruition.
That meant you needed to uproot your foundations
and move your possessions and your children and your hearts
in order to turn a group of unknown people into a community;
to turn a seed into a growing plant;
to turn two children, Adyn and Ayla, into teens.
This is your moment to look back at all of your holy work,
the hours of car rides, baseball practices, parent-teacher conferences,
Jewish and school community connections.
Now is your time to look back, seek your roots,
and bask in the glow of the present.

It hasn’t always been pretty to get to this moment.
It took your family years to cultivate and grow this dream.
You had to trust that in order to plant, you first had to uproot.
Yet, you have raised two beautiful children,
you have put down roots;
you have blessed the Vermont community
and you have blessed our Jewish Community of Greater Stowe
with your presence,
and we are all grateful for your leap of faith that brought you to us.

Finally, Adyn, this too is surely the moment you have been preparing for.
The hours and hours of Bar Mitzvah preparation;
the dedication to be with us each week
at our Olam Chesed Education Centre;
the Mitzvah Project to help the High Fives Foundation;
the desire to learn and better yourself and your community,
and the building of friends and family around you.

Despite the privileges,
it hasn’t always been pretty to get to this moment.
Moving to Vermont was not always easy;
and we all know, your parents needed to nudge you along
on this path towards your Bar Mitzvah.
Yet, you have turned grateful for the experience.

And we, your Jewish community, are so grateful for
your participation, your humour, your passion,
and the gift of your Torah to us that we celebrate this Shabbat.

This is the moment we have all been preparing for.
Vayikra, this week’s Torah portion.
Vayikra means “G-d calls out” to us.
What is G-d’s call to us?
How shall we respond?
These questions endure as we prepare for this very moment.

We have built our Tabernacle;
we have prepared for this Bar Mitzvah Shabbat;
we are the co-creators of this 5777 // 2017 year.

what is G-d’s call
and how will we respond?