God’s parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites’ escape from the Egyptian army, and the prophetess Miriam’s victory song are some of the most awesome moments in the history of our people. Who amongst us is not moved by the extraordinary events that occur in this week’s Torah portion Beshallach?
Rabbi Brad Artson teaches that while miracles are wonderful they are not the end of story. “People marvel at them while they are in process, and then forget about them the moment they finish.” (www.myjewishlearning.com) Like anything else, miracles are the result of preparation and disciplined service. It is “by gradually incorporating mitzvot into our lives— by moving a step at a time towards making Shabbat and tzedakah, kashrut and social justice, prayer and study and regular part of our being—we can, with time, remake ourselves in the Divine image.“
Each and every day, month after month, STS members create everyday miracles through community service and social action. Did you know that, for example, that STS members of all ages – from the most senior to JLC students – regularly serve meals and tutor children in transitional housing centers (Los Angeles Family Housing), coach new English speakers and those struggling to read (STS Literacy Project), give to monthly collections and join in service days (Project Open Hands), raise awareness of humanitarian crimes in other communities (Jewish World Watch), and arrange for meals, pay sick visits, and provide transportation for fellow congregants (Bikkur Cholim and iShlep)?
These actions help to make STS a kehillah kedoshah – a sacred community. It is our honor and our obligation as Jews to do this work. If you want to find out how to help to create these kinds of everyday miracles with your fellow congregants, reach out to someone you already know who is doing this work, or let me know. We want to hear from you.
Written for and presented at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in Los Angeles, California.