The first week of June at Sinai Temple is filled with graduations. The eighth graders of Sinai Akiba Academy complete their middle school studies and move on to high school, the fifth graders move up to middle school within the same sacred synagogue space, and our pre-kindergarteners culminate their pre-school experience ready to soak up Judaism and general studies in lower school. At the pre-school graduation, ECC Director Sarah Klinger read the children’s book What Do You Do With An Idea? The story inspires children to take the ideas in their head, give them the space to grow, and see what happens next.
This week, the Torah gifts us the threefold priestly blessing. The Rabbis derive different interpretations as to why the blessing is composed of three parts, but one explanation is a beautiful description of the graduations we witnessed this week at Sinai Temple. There are three stages of life: Youth, mid-life, and seniority. As young people, we ask God to protect us as individuals. In our adult years, we ask God to grant us graciousness; we should find favor in the eyes of the relationships we form, and as we grow older, we pray for peace.
The Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, is simply an idea. The words are not a magic formula for success and well being. Just like that book we read on the play yard yesterday, we must ask ourselves, “What will we do with that idea?” What will we do with God’s protection? What ideas will allow us to find favor in the eyes of others? And ultimately, what ideas can be enacted in our lives that will lead to a moment of shalom, of peace?”
This Shabbat, take an idea that has been in your mind. Say the idea out loud. Make the idea come alive.