It is Memorial Day weekend, the start of summer and nature is in full bloom. In fact, my Torah portion and haftarah both center around nature. My portion’s name, Bamidbar, means wilderness and in my Haftorah, the prophet Hosea, talks about the sand of the sea. As Jacob mentioned, just as you can’t count grains of sand, it’s also true that you can’t assign a number to the people of Israel.
But enough about counting – that was HIS topic. Mine is nature. The sand may be plentiful, but water is another story. In the desert, the Israelites had so little water, and they valued it to be very precious.
I am an advocate for the environment, especially when it comes to water – (PAUSE) you can ask my parents, I am like the water-police. I keep a close eye on members of my family when they turn on the water to brush their teeth; even when it’s just a little drip in the faucet, I’ll let them know.
Did you know that when you leave the water dripping for about five seconds, that’s about a gallon of water wasted around the world? So every time you keep that faucet running for just a few seconds, a poor little girl in Africa will have that much less to drink!
You can see why they call me the water police!
I love pretty much everything nature has to offer. There is a rose outside my house that blossoms every year, and every day I would check with my Dad to see how many petals bloomed.
I also enjoy hiking up mountains and climbing high up in trees (like at the temple, although the rabbi didn’t know that). I will never forget climbing Talcott Mountain with my Papa or climbing Stowe Pinnacle in Vermont with my cousins. I find climbing to be really peaceful (PAUSE) except for those times when I’m gasping for air!
Sometimes I think of nature when I play the trumpet. When I’m doing that, I feel like I’m filling all of the empty spaces of the room with the sound of music. Once the sound is out, I can’t take it back in. I feel like I am laying a whole blanket of music over the world, creating something wonderful. This is similar to how G-d fills every bit of space with nature. The fresh bloom of flowers in the spring, and the first sign of the falling of snow are just few of the wonderful features of nature. Once the flowers bloom, they fill the world with beauty the way my music fills the room.
Aside from nature, another one of my many loves is reading books. Reading takes you into a magical world where you can express your own thoughts and no one can say you’re wrong. Since today I read from the Book of Numbers, for my mitzvah project, I’ve collected a number of books! Also, I’ve been reading to children at JCC Kindercare program, so that they will have the chance to love reading like I do.
And now, I’d like to bring back my brother, Jacob, to help me with the fun part
Author of "Embracing Auschwitz" and "Mensch•Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi - Wisdom for Untethered Times." Winner of the Rockower Award, the highest honor in Jewish journalism and 2019 Religion News Association Award for Excellence in Commentary. Musings of a rabbi, journalist, father, husband, poodle-owner, Red Sox fan and self-proclaimed mensch, taken from essays, columns, sermons and thin air. Writes regularly in the New York Jewish Week and Times of Israel.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Sarah Goldberg on Bamidbar
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