In his message, Jason quotes the beginning of a meditation from our prayer book, Mishkan T’filah.
The meditation continues:
May we enter this place in peace.
May holiness wrap around us as we cross its threshold.
Weariness, doubt, the flaws within our human hearts, the harshness of the week –
let these drop away at the door.
In the brightness of Shabbat, let peace settle upon us as we lift our hearts in prayer.
When we think of a synagogue, we think of a place where we attend services and holidays, classes and committees. But in Jewish tradition, “HaMakom” – “The Place” – is another name for the Divine. Instead of a deity who intervenes in history, who judges humanity and metes out rewards or punishments, I like the notion of holy “space,” the place where we can encounter the divine, transcendent, aspirational, or inspirational – “The Place” is our nexus between the past and a future of absolute potential. The meditation begins with the generations before and around us, and it continues with the holiness that we can feel envelope us in moments of prayerful reflection.
We are blessed by the generations around us. As we welcome the next board and celebrate the leaders who work tirelessly to allow us that “Makom” – that “Holy Space” – let us remember how much we count on each other. The harshness of our week is left behind when we greet each other, when we settle in for a while to share our hopes and questions. “The Place” really is about “The People.” The latter generates the former; the people are the holiness that wraps around us.
Sometimes we come to celebrate, other times to mourn, others still to debate and question the big issues in our world. But as long as we come together, the strength of our collective presence brings the divine Source of All into our world, as it is written, “if two sit together and exchange words of Torah, the Divine Presence rests between them.”
Rabbi Debra Stahlberg Dressler