שנה טובה ומתוקה
Happy and Sweet New Year
To our congregational family:
This year, 5776, will mark our family’s seventh year at Congregation Shaarei Kodesh. Alissa and I came back home to South Florida as two individuals, but soon after I began my tenure as rabbi, we welcomed our first son, Avi, into the world. A couple of years later, our second born, Harrison, came. We became even more whole with the addition of each child, the addition of each new family that joined us on our collective journey, and the longer we’ve been surrounding by our Shaarei Kodesh community.
Seven is a special number in Judaism. There were seven days of creation, seven branches of the menorah in the Holy Temple, seven blessings to marry a couple, and seven patriarchs and matriarchs. Seven is a key number that denotes being whole, complete, and at peace. As we come to our seventh year at Shaarei Kodesh, we are able to look back at what we have created together, and look forward to see what is yet to come.
Yesterday, on Shabbat Nitzvaim, we saw Bnai Israel on the cusp of something new.
You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God—your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer— to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God…” (Deuteronomy 29:9-11)
They are about to enter into the Promised Land, Eretz Israel, after years of slavery, and after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness – they’ve finally made it; but before they enter the land, they must enter a covenant with God. What is interesting here is that the text makes it a point to note that everyone was part of this covenant, men, women, and children, and people from all different trades. It teaches us a lesson – God seeks a relationship with all of us, and the high holidays are the time when we collectively step forward to affirm that relationship, but it also teaches us that each person in our lives is important, each member of our community makes a difference. Thank you for your love and support over the last six years. We can’t wait to see what happens in year seven, and beyond.
Shannah Tovah U’Metukah – Have a happy and sweet new year!
B’Ahavah, with love,
Rabbi David, Alissa, Avi and Harrison Baum