Vayahkhel-Pekudei HaHodesh 2023
Rabbi Philip Weintraub
March 18, 2023
Men’s Club Shabbat
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Today is a special day. We took out two Torahs this morning, finishing the book of Exodus with Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei and then returning earlier in the Sefer for Parshat HaHodesh, where we are reminded that Passover will be with us shortly. We also honor our Mitzvah Men’s Club this morning, who have participated so joyfully. We also wish a refuah sheleimah to our Mitzvah Men’s Club President and Man of the Year, Eric Pastman, whose leadership has been repeatedly demonstrated in his term.
I spoke to Eric yesterday to ask what he was planning on speaking about today. He really wanted to emphasize as COVID has receded this blessing of gathering together. The Mitzvah Men’s Club this year has returned to many of its annual events. Joining together for meals, volunteering, supporting the synagogue and our community they have made such a positive impact right here. The physical act of being together itself is a blessing for the community. He also wanted to specifically thank the Sisterhood for their assistance this weekend. When there were challenges, Sisterhood stood up and made things happen. So much of the good work of Mitzvah Men’s Club is truly a partnership with our amazing Sisterhood AND the remarkable staff of CBI.
This week’s parsha is truly about making things happen. At first glance it seems rather repetitive. We read about the design and construction of the Mishkan, the travelling Temple for the time of our wandering. If the previous parshiot were about the plans for construction, why do we need to read such similar words and phrases about its actual building?
Since we moved into our house, we knew that our kitchen and dining area were not set up for entertaining guests in the way we dreamed to when we moved to St Pete. COVID got even more in the way of that dream. This past summer we finally made the structural changes to our kitchen/living/dining so that we could entertain in a kosher way! This Passover we will have some young families join us for first night Seder, really breaking in the space. In May, we will take Shabbat on the Road to our own home, inviting more folks into our home. In the years to come, we hope to eventually have everyone over--albeit not at one time! That is the dream, the follow-through is the reality. We needed certain changes to make the dream real. Just like Herzl said--Im Tirtzu, ein zu aggadah. If you will it, it is no dream. Yet we know that turning a dream into a reality takes a lot of hard work.
There are always setbacks. Here at CBI, we have raised significant funds to ensure the wellbeing of our physical home. Now we are working on turning those funds into the dream of a properly maintained, beautiful CBI. The roof replacement is well under way. ACs are being replaced as parts become available. Carpets and paint will come before we know it. The process is rarely as linear as we imagine.
This parsha is about following through. It is about the work it takes to make something actually happen. It is about the drive of so many people to create, dream AND make those visions into reality. Some people are blessed with both vision and follow-through. Many are not. It takes both types of people to make any organization function. Mitzvah Men’s Club is blessed with some of each--I won’t name names!
As I mentioned, we took out a second Torah this morning. We reminded ourselves that Passover is coming--if your repeated visits to Jo-El’s didn’t remind you that! Next week I have several opportunities to discuss Passover--before we celebrate 100 years together--where we have so many devoted people who have spent countless hours working and following through to make the many celebrations for all of us happen. Join me for coffee in Belleaire Tuesday morning, for a Jo-El’s lunch right here Tuesday afternoon, or ask your final Passover questions the Shabbat before Passover. There are so many opportunities to celebrate, to learn, to grow, to gather, to FOLLOW THROUGH! Thank you to the Mitzvah Men’s Club, to Sisterhood and to our amazing office for making this weekend a success. Shabbat shalom!
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