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On Saturday evening, March 20, 2021, we had an emotional and spiritually up lifting Men’s Club Shabbat and Night of Recognition. As we transitioned from Men’s Club Shabbat to the Night of Recognition, I presented the following D’var Torah:
It is just past one year since we as a Men’s Club last gathered at Beth Shalom to pack the candles for our Yellow Candle Program on March 11, 2020. As the evening progressed social media and news reports were coming in of travel bans being enacted. By the end of the following week, we were all staying at home.
There is no question Humanity shared an awfully bad year and we are still not out of it yet. Many have suggested writing the past year off. But is that what we really want or should do?
I am reminded of the poem by Rabbi Alvin Fine, “Life is a Journey”. It begins and ends with “Birth is a Beginning And death a destination And life is a Journey”. We are each responsible for creating our own life’s journey, addressing, and overcoming its challenges, and embracing and celebrating its successes. The journey we have all experienced this past year needs to be remembered for what it was and take its proper place in each of our own life’s journeys.
So how do we do that? I believe like most things in life, we do it day by day.
My favorite B’rakhah of the Ma’Ariv service is the first B’rakhah before the Sh’Ma, which we read earlier, as it describes the miracle of each day.
“Praised are You Adonai our G-d, who rules the universe, Your word bringing the evening dusk. You open with wisdom the gates of dawn, design the day with wondrous skill, set the succession of seasons, and arrange the stars in the sky according to Your will. Adonai Tz’va-ot, You create day and night, rolling light away from darkness and darkness away from light. Eternal G-d, Your sovereignty shall embrace us forever. Praised are You Adonai, for each evening’s dusk.”
I was reminded of that B’rakhah the day of that last snowstorm in February. The day began with heavy snowfall. I marveled at the size of the flakes, how fast it was coming down, and just the overall beauty, even though I knew I had a big shoveling job ahead. At the end of the day, I went out to get the mail and was witness to one of the most beautiful sunsets of the winter. With the clouds in the western sky now broken, the sun’s rays pierced the sky creating a wonderful kaleidoscope of color reflecting against the clouds. I just stood there, taking it all in, reviewing what I did during the day and thinking how lucky I was to experience that day.
May we all find beauty and experience peace in each day of our life’s journey.