Friday, June 1, 2018

Parashat Beha'alotcha and Community

Shabbat shalom! A while back I wrote a drash about what a great leader Moses because he delegated. Yet in this week's Torah portion, Parashat Beha'alotcha, he expresses feeling overwhelmed again. The Israelites won't stop whining about how hard life in the desert is and blaming Moses for their difficulties.

In response, God gives the gift of prophecy to the 70 elders of the Israelites, those with whom Moses shares some duties. It is meant to be temporary but two men continue to speak in tongues after the Spirit of the Lord leaves from the others. Joshua is concerned, possibly jealous and threatened for Moses and for his future succession to Moses's legacy. But when he tries to interfere, Moses tells him to take a seat. "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets!" Moses exclaims.

Moses has his moments where he gets arrogant and territorial of his role (as we shall see in just two weeks when we read Korach), but here we see the same humble, tired Moses who never wanted this job in the first place and needed his brother's moral support to get this project off the ground. Because change does not happen from one leader alone. It takes a village, as they say. We all do better when we lift each other up and support one another to each become prophets in our own rights.

There have been several opportunities in the last month for interfaith work. Since our panel on Abrahamic views of environmentalism here a little over a month ago, there was a mother's day event at the Masroor Mosque, which is also hosting a community iftar dinner next Saturday. Last night I attended a lovely iftar at Dar alnoor and reconnected with the pastor from the Manassas Presbyterian church, the elders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and many other community leaders from around Prince William County. Yesterday afternoon I also met with someone who is in charge of the interfaith and adult ed at St. Margaret's. We all come from different backgrounds and may have different views on some things. But we all believe that our community is stronger together. We all know that each of us has a prophetic vision and voice that is important and worth listening to from different perspectives. I know I'm looking forward to more opportunities to spend time with and learn from our friends from other faiths as well as from the secular leaders in the community. I hope you will join us at these events such as next week's iftar and next year’s adult ed programs. And in the meantime, may you each find your own prophetic voice to share with others as well. Amen and Shabbat Shalom.

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