Why have we kept the "redemption of the firstborn," a ritual called Pidyon HaBen in Jewish tradition? Perhaps less than a financial necessity, it’s to mark the moment a parent fully recognizes the responsibility and honor of being a parent. Raising a child is certainly costly, but as parents know, being a parent is not about the expense, but the gift of love, learning, and growth of experiencing many firsts together.
I like to be busy, whether it’s reading a book, going on a walk, or even just texting a friend. Idle time is not my favorite, so I’m not the best when I’m supposed to be resting to recover from an ailment or when we lose power and it’s pouring rain. This is also why I sometimes struggle with Shabbat.
Before I begin my formal comments, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a special thank you to Glen for his service as our president over the past two years. It has been a pleasure partnering with you, Glen; your positive outlook was especially valuable as we navigated our community through the pandemic.
If you try to glean something from an experience after the experience is over, you might miss quite a bit. We’re not quite out of the pandemic, but hopefully far from the height of it. This is the time to remember the lessons we’ve learned and make some habits permanent.
In this week’s Torah reading, we encounter the birkat kohanim, the priestly benediction. I have a deep love for this blessing. Some of that stems from its antiquity: archaeology brought to life a very ancient amulet upon which were inscribed the words of the blessing, rendered here in English:
May God Bless you and watch over you.
May God make God’s face to shine on you and to be gracious to you.
May God lift up God’s face to you and give you peace.
To achieve the reward of holy community, or perhaps even any reward at all, we’ve got to do the work. Get dirty, get a little bit sore, and don’t wish away the social and personal growth that’s just as gratifying as the finished product.