Honorable Mensch-ion

New Expectations

I entered the world of middle school parenthood this week. Back to school night overwhelmed us as teacher after teacher presented the expectations of how the year will proceed. Our children have grown up here in these hallways at Sinai Temple, yet it felt like I was in an entirely different place. I can imagine the Israelites in the desert as Moses retells the story of the people. At last, they arrive to the point where Moses presents them with the Torah, their covenant with one God. Moses explains that when they get to a certain point, they will write kol divrei hatorah hazot, the entire Torah on stones that they shall set up.

The Rabbis ask, “How big were these stones?” While Nachmanides tells us they were large enough to write the entire Torah from the first word of Bereshit to the last word of Yisrael, most other commentaries counter that the generalities and principles of the mitzvot were written, not every word.

Here were the people, the same human beings they were the day before they were presented the covenant, but now tasked with a very different mission in their lives. At times, we must step back and recognize to appreciate the larger principles before we dive into the minutia of the details.

As we inch closer to the High Holy Days and Elul leads into Tishrei, each one of us begin the self introspection process.

What expectations do we have for ourselves? How do we wish to live our lives in the year ahead? What relationships do we desire to mend? The Israelites at that moment could have never imagined that their acceptance of the covenant at that moment would continue with their descendants thousands of years later.

Kol divrei hatorah hazot, we have a part in how we wish to continue to write those words upon the stones. May we be part of the story in the year ahead.

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