September 11, 2020
Believe it or not, we have arrived.
These are weeks of preparation, of Zoom links and Shofar blasts, of menus planned and services scheduled. We stand on the precipice of… what exactly? These days, especially, we have no idea. The future is bleak, bright, we dread, we dream, we are not ready to dream, not yet, but we remember dreaming–we remember making plans, hoping, resolving. There must be a promised land, we pray.
When, in fact, before the year has even ended, we have already arrived.
Moses tells us so. Atem nitzavim hayom kulchem, he says to his people before they cross the Jordan. You have arrived, all of you. This “all of you” can mean “everyone.” Everyone stands on one side of the river, at journey’s end. Our tribe, together, ready to cross. This “all of you” can also mean “every part of you.” Moses is inviting us to bring all of ourselves to the river’s edge. No part of ourselves, not our sadness, our longing, our cynicism, our greed, our desperation, our cowardice, nothing we can cook up now can undo what is true–that we have wandered the wilderness, we have been tried by fire, by water, we are older, now, wiser, we have, all of us, arrived.
The crossing over, then, the moment when one year ends and another begins, is illusory. By surviving this hard, humbling year, we have already arrived. By learning and growing, we may, today, rejoice. Take this time, these final days, and give yourself this gift–take a breath. Slow down. Reflect. Enjoy. See that you are here, on your own two feet, with your tribe–all of you. We’ve made it. There is no promised land, save for what we find, right here, right now, beneath our feet.
Here’s to our arrival.
Rabbi Benjamin Shalva