I met with a young couple yesterday. The husband is interested in a career change and so he is applying to rabbinical school. They wanted to hear about “the life” of a rabbi and how it impacts the family. We had a great conversation. I shared the joys and challenges of the life of a rabbi and the implications for family. One of the things that I told them is that it is NEVER BORING. In fact, I can say as I approach nearly thirty-five years in the pulpit, no two days are ever the same!
Every week I experience the highs and lows of people’s lives and community life. This week was no exception. I want to share one event.
As you know I am heavily invested in interfaith work. We have a clergy association here that I co-preside over with Father Andrew Sherman. Yesterday we did something notable. A group of rabbis, ministers and Muslims studied the text we know of as “Akedat Yitzchak”. Together we read it and learned from a woman, Dr. Kris Lembeck, who is the chairman of Jewish studies at FAU. Kris received her Ph.D. at The Jewish Theological seminary in Rabbinics and Talmud. Imagine this in the context of history – a Christian woman teaching Torah and Midrash to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. No one in the group thought to prove anything to anyone. Everyone in the group listened to each other’s ideas and interpretations and learning. It was Torah learning at its best! Different opinions expressed respectfully, a willingness to listen and learn, and a sense that this was a holy activity! The words of the Rabbis rang in my ears… These and these were the words of the Holy One!
It’s so great to know that there are religious leaders in this city learning with each other and listening to each other. This week we read Parshat Yitro. Yitro was Moses’ father in law; not a Hebrew but a man who taught him, and in doing so, taught us for all generations. This is the parshah where we find the Ten Commandments. And yet, it is named for a Midianite. What a lesson. We can learn from all people… and we have something to teach others.
See you in shul
Rabbi David Steinhardt