Adena Rochelson from Bogrim–D’var Torah from a Hanikhah on Shabbat
I’ve been a bit delinquent on this one, but first session is almost over so it’s time to get this post up on the web. During the first week of camp a girl from Bogrim, Adena, approached me asking if she could give a d’var Torah on Shabbat. Let me emphasize this–she wasn’t asked to do this, she initiated it. She asked me if I could help her find something from the parsha to talk about. Of course, I was delighted to help her. We sat down, read the parsha together and talked about various episodes. She decided to talk about the issue of collective responsibility, which we learn from the story of the tribes of Gad and Reuben who join the rest of Israel in conquering the land, despite the fact that they don’t end up settling in the land. I decided that the fact that a hanikhah not only gave a d’var Torah but wrote it herself at her own initiative means that I better type it up and put it on the blog. So here it is. Her words as she wrote them out (followed by a picture, not taken on Shabbat, of course):
Shabbat Shalom! A few months ago while I was at the grocery store I saw a mom with 2 children. I watched as the children brought over a carton of blueberries to their mother. The mother was not looking when the children handed her the blueberries. As a result she dropped them. The blueberries spilled all over and the mother was very embarrassed at her children’s behavior. I watched as a young girl who did not know the mother or her children helped the mother pick up the blueberries.
This relates to the this week’s parsha, Mattot/Masei. When two tribes reach the land of Canaan, the Reubenites and the Gadites, they both want to settle outside the land because they thought that land was better for them. Moses argued that it wasn’t right for them to be able to settle outside the land of Canaan, but not help support the rest of Israel. As a compromise they agreed to continue to support the land of Canaan by promising to be the first troops there in the time of war.
As campers in the Ramah community we have the responsibility of helping one another. Just like the Reubenites and Gadites we too must not only help the people who we know at camp, but the others who we don’t know as well. Next time you see a camper or counselor in need of help, I challenge all of you to help whether or not you personally know them. This will create a stronger and better Ramah community.