Shabbat Parashat Korach Lives in Progress

Dear Friends,

When people ask one another: “How are you?” most often we say: “I’m fine!” and we leave it at that. But, are we really fine?

Let’s learn from Korach, the quintessential rebel in the Biblical story of the Exodus from Egypt. Korach complained to Moses, saying: “Why are you taking leadership of our people? Korach’s contention was that all of us are worthy. In fact, he claimed that all of us are holy!” And, so, why should Moses be the leader?

Korach’s contention that all of us are holy reminds me of how we all often automatically respond to the question “How are you?” by saying: “I’m fine!” But, are we really fine? That’s another question, and one which is often left unanswered.

Korach was punished for complaining about Moses. But, what was so terrible about Korach’s complaint regarding Moses’ leadership?

The problem with Korach’s approach was that he was proclaiming that all of the people are, in the present tense, fine. He was saying that, at that given moment, all of the people were actually holy. In saying that, Korach was claiming that all of the people were “whole” or “complete.” Therefore, Moses, was no better than anyone else. Moses was no more worthy than anyone else. But, the question is: Were all the people really all holy, whole and complete?

The reality is that as long as we are alive, the Torah teaches us to strive for holiness, for wholeness, and for completeness. But none of us are actually holy, whole or complete at any given moment in time. Instead, our lives are lives in progress. There is a future ahead of us – one that to some degree or another depends upon the decisions we make from moment to moment.

Along with you all, I too have been “adjusting” to our current situation. I too have been learning more and more and figuring out how to proceed, as an individual and as your rabbi.

Over the past couple of months, I have developed a deepened sense of where we are spiritually as a congregation and grown to understand better how we can and should use technology to the fullest to maintain a sense of connection and spirituality even when our building is not yet open.

Up to now, we have not been using technology to hold services on Shabbat and on holidays. We have been gathering virtually before Shabbat and holidays, and after Shabbat and holidays. However, going forward, we will do things differently.

Going forward, we will make use of technology to enable us to be a kehilla kedosha [a holy congregation] to the fullest extent possible, as needed, including on Shabbat and on holidays. Yes, we are fine. But, at the same time, we are aware that we are always learning. We are always processing our situation. We are adjusting. And, we are growing spiritually.

It is my hope and prayer, that as we move forward with an awareness that we are all lives in progress, we will continue to grow in understanding so that we may continue to meet the spiritual and communal needs of our congregation.

And, we will look toward the future with an increasing awareness that, together, we will continue to strive to increase holiness, wholeness, and completeness in our midst, one day at a time.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror