וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתוֹכָֽם׃
Make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among you.
וַיִּ֥בֶן הַבַּ֖יִת לַיהוָֽה׃
…and he built a House to Adonai.
(1 Kings 6:1)
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be a part of a lunch in honor of the launch of Six Points Sci Tech West. After we introduced ourselves, Rick Jacobs gave a D’var Torah where he compared the Torah portion, T’rumah, to its Haftarah, reminding us that we don’t often speak about the haftarah. He compared the building of the mikdash from the Parashah with the building of haBait from the haftarah. While he spoke, I was thinking about the comparison from a different perspective.
We spend much of our time focused on our permanent houses of worship. We think about our congregations where we spend most of our time and energy. Though we might not refer to our synagogue as a temple any more, it does serve to replace the Temple built in this week’s haftarah, in that we want our spiritual homes to be around forever, or at least for a very, very long time.
We fortunately do get the opportunity to build mikdashim from time to time, not in an attempt to replace or subvert our batim but to supplement them. Every year the CCAR Convention offers us a mishkan for a week of study, prayer, and socializing with each other that I look forward to every year. It is a place to compare notes with other colleagues going through the same triumphs and trials that we are, whether to commiserate or to learn from how they succeeded. It is a place of serious scholarship and brilliant models of best practices. It is a place where, because of our commitment to bettering ourselves and one another, God dwells. This year’s convention in Orange County, California will be a model of such a dwelling for the Divine.
Orange County is already an exemplar of community cohesion. If you need proof, look at the Real Housewives series from Bravo. Most seasons are named after a city: Real Housewives of Atlanta, …of Beverly Hills, …of Miami. But the season filmed in Coto de Caza, CA was named, “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” rather than taking its name from the city. As a county, we feel like a large, unified community more than a gathering of many independent cities.
That is exactly why this year’s convention is the perfect location to build our mikdash for the CCAR. It is an example of community and partnership that we should strive to model when we return to our permanent structures, and it is an inspiring atmosphere of fellowship. Not to mention the amazing weather!
Registration is open for CCAR 2018, and we hope that you are able to join our very own Betzalel and Oholiab (Daniel Septimus and Rick Kellner) for this fantastic opportunity.
See you in the OC!
Rabbi David Young serves Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley, CA.