In our Torah portion this week, we read about Abraham's journey, from his humble origins in his father's idol shop, to establishing himself as the leader of a great nation. When I looked back on Abraham's journey, as he was building his community, there is one particular verse which spoke to me, and helped me think about the work that we try and do together here at Tifereth Israel.
In Breishit, 12:5, we are given a list of things that Abraham brought with him on his journey, one of them was "הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן" the souls they had acquired in Haran. Rashi points out that this is an unusual phrase and suggests for us an alternate reading. He suggests that what this verse really means is that Abraham brought each and every soul that he encountered, under the wing of the Shechina, helping them connect with the divine presence. By creating those connections, by helping those he encountered connect with God and tradition, Abraham ensured that his nation would continue to thrive for generations to come.
Which is not that different from the type of work that I do as a Rabbi, and that we do together as a community. We try and help those we encounter build relationships, connecting with Judaism, Jewish tradition, Jewish community and God. I believe that these relationships and connections, can be of the utmost importance, bringing meaning and fulfillment into our lives. It is my hope and prayer for all of us, that when we come together, pray together, celebrate together, and even mourn together, that we can create, facilitate, and strengthen those connections.
That way, like Abraham, if we can create these connections, and help everyone whom we encounter to find meaning and fulfillment, our community will continue to grow and thrive for generations to come.