By Rabbi David
We have no idea where Mount Sinai actually was. We don’t know where our spiritual ancestors stood together as one, felt the earth tremble, heard the shofar blast, saw the mountain glow with light. We have no idea where Torah was given, where the great “I AM” carved sacred pathways that we’d call the Ten Commandments.
We have no idea where that was – and that’s exactly the point.
Where ultimately is irrelevant. Knowing the place for sure might limit our experience of the sacred to one special location. Someone or a group of someones might say that the place is theirs, or debate the place and struggle for control. We might yearn nostalgically for there and then, rather than here and now.
But Torah – and all spiritual life – ultimately is about here and now. It’s about where we are, not where we were. It’s about how we live, not about history or mere geography.
These spiritual truths are especially poignant this year, when our sense of time, place and community feel so altered. Today’s reality is socially distanced, Zoomed and masked. Tomorrow’s reality is … well, we don’t fully know.
What we do know is that spiritual communities worldwide are learning new ways to make sacred space, have holy experience and connect together from everywhere. We are re-learning to experience in new ways the timeless spiritual truth that “the whole world is full of God’s glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Just as our own synagogue is named for the Beth El that Jacob named the place where he dreamed of an angelic ladder leading toward God, so too every place can be that kind of place.
Including your living room, your kitchen, wherever your computer is, wherever you intend to make space sacred, wherever you open your heart. Now every place can be the place we welcome Shabbat together. Now every place can be our Sinai portal.
No, it’s not the same. We yearn to be physically together again when it is safe, and when that time comes, we will dance with joy. For now, it’s about making sacred space where we are.
We can. We can do as our ancestors did just before Sinai. We can wash with anticipation. We can change our clothes – maybe wear white. We can put aside distractions. We can summon our hearts, connecting together exactly
Maybe it’ll be the same physical place as the last 10 weeks, but it’ll be different because we’ll be different. We’ll be at Sinai together again, and the light will shine.
Past corona-themed spiritual messages from Rabbi David:
Week 2: The spirituality of melting down
Week 3: The liberation journey when so little feels like freedom
Week 4: How can we celebrate? How can’t we?
Week 5: Countdown to what’s next
Week 6: On spiritual resilience
Week 7: On Israel: Identity, Pride and “Exile”
Week 8: Enduring Spirit
Week 9: Beyond Ready
Week 10: The Body of Torah