Tefila (prayer) at our machane (camp) is joyous, spiritual, educational and participatory. This morning our Solelim chanichim (campers) participated in the Tefila, including the Torah service (every Saturday, Monday and Thursday), and heard a wonderful d’var Torah from Tzevet Limud (education staff) member Rabbi Hillel Greene (photo, above). Rabbi Greene touched on this week’s Torah portion, Balak. In the parsha, King Balak went out of his way to find the negative and utter curses. What can we learn from this? Rabbi Greene asked each chanich to imagine a postcard in their head; on one side, they were asked to “write” one positive or happy thing they were expecting to happen this kayitz (summer) and on the other side, they were asked to “write” one negative thing they were expecting to happen. He then suggested that everyone “rip up” the imaginary postcard into many pieces — so we can focus on the here and now, without imposing the positive or negative expectations. Rabbi Greene told the related story of the tailor who made what he thought was the most beautiful, perfect wedding gown for his daughter. However, the minute she tried it on, it was clear that it was all wrong for her — it looked ugly and did not fit right. The tailor immediately ripped the gown into many pieces, and from them fashioned a brand new dress. Lo and behold: it fit perfectly, and the bride, his daughter looked stunning in it. The moral of the story: what we start out with and expect to happen may need to be completely refashioned, and we must do our best to live in the moment and be ready for all possibilities. Below, the chanichim greet the Torah:
Three of the chanichim had an aliya leTorah (Torah honor), and another chanicha had the Gelila (wrapping the Torah) honor. This participatory, inclusive Tefila was a great way to start the day!