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    Sorry Rabbi, but I’m bored

    rosh hashanah survival kit bookCongregant:

    “Rabbi, I’m sorry to jump on you like this at the Kiddush, but I want you to know why I probably won’t come to shule next week.

    “I more or less tolerated all those chapters a few weeks ago when the narrative was about the ‘begats and begones’, the genealogies of our early ancestors. I knew the story had to get better and to move to the dramatic bits about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    “Then of course came the exciting stuff about Moses and the slaves, Moses and the plagues, Moses and the Exodus, Moses and Mount Sinai. But from there it has gone steadily downhill.

    “I suppose I could handle the laws about how to run a just society, but, for Heaven’s sake, all the chapters about the materials and measurements of the Tabernacle – boredom personified! – and I guess from next week there’s going to be a long section about priests and sacrifices.

    “How can I not be bored when there doesn’t seem to be anything spiritual or meaningful in it all?”


    “I see your point. Obviously you don’t blame me for the content of the readings. It wasn’t me that wrote the Torah and it’s clearly not my fault. But give me a minute to put the other side of the argument.

    “What we’ve got here is precisely what is needed when anyone has a project in mind. They call Israelis a start-up nation, but we Jews have been a start-up people forever.

    “Any time we thought of a project we needed a vision, a plan, a survey, a set of supporters, a sound basis, materials to work with, constant checks and balances.

    “Everything in life is like that – you can’t just dream wildly and forget to ask yourself if it is practical and do-able.

    “You want a house? You need details. You want a business? Can’t be built without details. You want a marriage and family? Details. You want a better society? Details.

    “That’s what the Torah readings are telling us. Theory, dreams, visions, hopes… and practical implementation.

    “Boring? Not to me. Every day of my life I look at what I’m doing, and I apply to it the perspective of the Torah readings about the Tabernacle.

    “So, please look at the sidra in this light, next week’s sidra too, and let’s see you in shule!

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