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Rabbi Lisa's Message

February 14, 2024

Today, on the secular calendar, is Valentine’s Day. With that in mind, yesterday in Shul School, we made some connections between the multiple worlds in which we inhabit as Jews–We brought in some “Love,” to Shul School, Jewish style. 

Our students learned the Hebrew word for love, Ahavah. Our youngest students spelled the word with pink playdough using Hebrew cookie cutters. Our older students learned how to write the word in Hebrew and made a connection to Jewish prayer with the V’ahavta: “And you shall love.”

In the V’ahavta prayer we learn how to love G-d. This prayer, which is a continuation of the Shema, is actually sourced in Torah (Deut 6:5-9 and Num 15:40-41). Essentially, we are to love G-d with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our might (or everything-ness)!  If we are not sure what it means to love in this way, essentially with all we’ve got, the specifics of what to do and when, are laid out in grand detail throughout Torah. 

And detail is an important word here. Details and intentionality matter. This week’s parsha, Terumah is a great example of that kind of specificity. 

The People are called upon to make offerings of special materials to construct a sanctuary, and in this place, G-d will dwell. 

וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָֽם

And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.

  • Exodus 25:8

From here, the rest of the parsha continues with incredible detail about how to build, decorate, and furnish this holy space. Getting it right matters. Caring about the details matter. In this caring we show our love. 

I am reminded of the love and care going in our own holy space here at CBI. Over the past year, beautiful offerings of the heart, soul, and from our deep everything-ness have brought so much vitality to our buildings and grounds. Consider this incredible list of upgrades and beautifications in the past several months: new CBI sign, new secure and decorative fencing in progress, updated foyer space, spectacular designer doors into the sanctuary, new lovely blue chairs, and an out of this world pavilion complete with lights, fans, and sound system–lots of amazing details, right! 

As one of our Board members recently shared, “All this attention to our physical space shows our care.” Yes! And all this attention to detail shows that what happens here at CBI is something special, worth caring about.

Clearly, all these details matter and have contributed to this very palpable feeling of aliveness in our community. Let’s keep the momentum of love and care going. Let’s continue to bring our offerings of the heart. Because as Torah teaches us, when we create a holy space, a sanctuary filled with the details of our hearts and souls, G-d is surely dwelling among us.

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