This is my final message for the season, as I am on holiday during July. Balak is an interesting Torah reading with which to say adieu.
We open our morning services with the words “Mah tovu, ohalecha Yaakov…words recited by the non-Jewish sorcerer Balaam when he viewed the tents in the valley below him. He could only recite words of praise for their presence, instead of the curses he had been hired to project over the Israelites. These are comforting words and welcome words.
Often we can only see the words of rejection and hatred directed to us. Rates of anti-Semitism in Canada are at their highest in many years. And, yet, we must also remember that there are many who would – and do – stand by and with us. They may not be prophets or sorcerers, they may be our neighbours, our friends or even strangers. But it is important to remember their words of support.
We are hoping to resume some of our services to be in person in August. We will be experimenting with videoing these services for our members who will not be able to join us. There may still be a 50-person limit to attending in-person services, and some of our members may choose for all manner of reasons to view the service from home. We will do our very best to include everyone. And we will be together, wherever we are. “How fair are your tents, O Jacob, your dwellings, O Israel.”