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Naso 5781 ~ May 21, 2021

We have all carried the burden for what some may say has been too many months now. We became so used to  social distancing, limited interactions with other, wearing of masks, and so many other changes, that in some ways  this way of life  became normal to us.

 As most of these restrictions were lifted on May 19th, I found it rather interesting to see that so many people still  felt the need to still self-protect by wearing mask and social distancing. What became a burden, has perhaps taken on a whole new life of its own.

 Rabbi Ed Feinstein  taught me a while back that “our Torah portion this week offers an alternative vision in the form of a powerful image of life and its meaning.” One that is reflective of our new understanding of the concept of a burden in a most positive way.

“At Mt. Sinai, the Israelites constructed a shrine -- the Mishkan -- a dwelling for God's Presence, a connection between heaven and earth. Preparing now to leave Sinai and continue the journey toward the Promised Land, instructions are given for dismantling and transporting the Mishkan. Each Levitical family is assigned responsibility for a part. The objects themselves were common -- a board, a rod, a section of curtain. What glory, what satisfaction was there in shlepping a heavy fence-post, a bulky tapestry through the hot desert day after day, mile after mile?

It was only when the march stopped, and the whole was assembled that each individual could suddenly recognize the meaning of his or her burden. Only then could each see the critical purpose that board, that rod, that post, that section of tapestry held in making a place for God on earth.”

While May 19th might have been cathartic, in many ways, it did not alter a thing.  While we may have a new lease on life regarding the easing of restrictions, we have all learned to see that the board or the rod or the post or section of tapestry we are holding makes a sanctuary of G-d. That reality is not solely in religious terms, but in valuing the breath of life  and life itself, which God gifted to us at Creation.

While many will welcome the changes back to a more normal way of living and enjoying life itself, let us pause to reflect on how in many ways that “burden” was an act of tzedakah, for everyone else. My youngest son taught me that same lesson  as he left Mohegan Sun, a few weeks ago,  with the first of his Covid vaccinations.  As he got into the car and I thanked him, he turned to me and said:  “Dad, I didn’t do it for me, I did it for everyone else.”

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782