The first time I took my daughter to Disneyland all she wanted to do was go on Dumbo. We get in line, slowly, slowly weaving our way for an hour and a half. Finally, at the front, my daughter takes one look at the elephant and says, “Nope, No way am I going up there!” But I held her close and told her I would be right by her side. She agreed and loved every minute of it.
In this week’s Torah portion, Shemini, the Mishkan, or traveling sanctuary is completed. Detail after painstaking detail, the time had finally come to offer the first sacrifices. Aaron makes his way to the altar. The text states, “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘Approach the altar and perform your sin offering and your burnt offering,’' The rabbis ask, why would Moses need to instruct Aaron to both approach and perform the offering? Aaron hesitates because he is afraid, overwhelmed by the task and responsibility. He feels alone. But he is not alone. Moses is right by his side.
For more than a year we too have felt this fear, this loneliness, this isolation. We were overwhelmed by the fear of change, the fear of the unknown. How would our children learn? How would we work? How would we even buy our groceries? When would we see our families and our friends again? These are lonely and isolating questions. But what I have learned is these questions have answers; answers I do not have to find on my own. Because like Aaron, we are not alone. Questions are answered together. This year more than ever I am comforted by the words of our prayerbook.
Standing at the parted shores of history, we still believe what we were taught before ever we stood at Sinai’s foot; that wherever we go, it is eternally Egypt, that there is a better place, a promised land; that the winding way to that promise passes through the wilderness. That there is no way to get from here to there except by joining hands, marching together.
No matter the challenge, from Disneyland to the Promised Land, none is too great when we face it together.
Photo Credit: ATIS547/Flickr CC Some Rights Reserved(https://www.flickr.