Wednesday, July 27, 2011

D'var Torah - Parshat Masei (mini Bible sermon of the week)

Tonight we had an education committee meeting at work. In the Jewish Community, before we get to business, many board meetings begin with a D'var Torah.

**For those who don't know** the Torah is the main source of text in Judaism - the first five books of the Bible. D'var Torah translates to "words of Torah" and is the sermon during weekly worship service, but can also refer to a very short, 1 or 2 minute "words of wisdom" where someone takes text from the weekly Torah portion (parsha) and relates it to something relevant in our life.)

The Parsha this week is Parshat Masei. I STRONGLY recommend everybody to go to, hopefully the link through youtube worked above! G-dcast has 5 minute cartoon depictions of every single Torah portion. If you are interested in learning about the first five books of the bible through a Jewish perspective, or want to share these with your kids (5th grade and higher), then please watch these weekly! They are amazing.

I have been starting every education committee with a D'var Torah. This meeting was no different. I didn't write anything down and just spoke, so I will try to make this sound as eloquently as possible.

So here goes!

This week's Parsha is Parshat Masei. In this portion, the tribes are distributed over the land of Israel, and given their land. However, the tribe of Levi (the Levites) are not given property of their own - they are distributed all over and told that they are the example for the rest of the tribes. They are scholars, G-d doesn't want them troubled with working the land.  So they are supposed to be the most important, but they aren't important enough to be given their own space? In a way, it's a great lesson for anybody in education, especially Jewish education. You can be a synagogue or church (or I guess a school if we continue the metaphor) without walls. But you can't be a synagogue (etc) without lifelong learning! Despite any other challenges we may have, our goal, and my personal goal as a Jewish Educator is to make sure that lifelong Jewish learning is desired by our adults, and modeled to our youth.

Okay, now go watch the G-dcast video!

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