Our Exile is ending!
The story of the Jewish People is a narrative of Exile and Return.
In 586 BCE, the cruel Nebuchadnezzar exiled our people to Babylonia, and then 70 years later we returned singing. Psalms 126 remembers “When we returned from Exile, we felt like we were in a dream. Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with song.”In 70 CE, the wicked Roman General Titus burned our Temple and exiled our people from our Holy Land. And then after 2,000 years as wandering Jews, in 1948 we returned to our homeland singing Hatikva, the Jewish anthem of hope.
More than a year ago COVID exiled us from our Temple. This past week we returned home to our Temple. “Shehechiyahu!”
What shall we sing to celebrate this moment?
May I recommend that we draw spiritual inspiration from the words of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach whowrote this song based on the liturgy of the High Holy Days.
“Return again, return again,return to the Land of your Soul.Return to who you are,return to what you are,return to where you are born and reborn again”
I invite you dear congregants, come back home to Temple Shaaray Tefila. The long exile of social isolation is coming to end. We are re-opening slowly and safely first for those observing Yahrzeits and celebrating Simchas. Soon the weather will be warmer and we will return to “Shabbat under the Stars.” We will be able to accommodate more people when we gather outside for Shabbat.
I can’t wait to meet you in person. I can’t wait to lift our voices in prayers of song and joy when we gather for Shabbat. This summer we hope to enjoy Shabbat Dinner BBQs at the Temple and celebrate our return home to our Temple with a longed-for reunion of friends and community finally together again.“Return to the land of your Soul.”
If you have not done so already, may I urge you to get yourself vaccinated as soon as possible.
I look forward to seeing you all soon in health and peace at the Temple.
Rabbi David Wilfond