This sermon is dedicated in honor of the 60th Anniversary of Norma Lee and Nathan Schwartz, who were married on June 27, 1943.
A good friend of mine is a builder. He is a younger man, but has been in the building and construction business for about 10 years. One day, as we sat together he shared with me the painstaking process of building a house from the bottom up. I was impressed at how such teams of dedicated craftsmen coordinate their efforts into the construction of a home. There is so much involved, from the pouring of the foundation, to the framing, to the windows and internal workings such as the electrical and plumbing systems. That is not even considering the carpentry and finishing details such as painting and flooring. To be in charge of such a monumental task and to coordinate different teams of subcontractors to meet deadlines and to please the owners is a G-d-given talent. And I am sure there is much pride when completion is near as one sees what human hands, put to work, can create with the talents that G-d has given them.
In this week’s Torah portion, we have the description of the building of the Temple, the building of the Menorah, the work of the Levites in the Temple and the services in the Temple. This is a very impressive chapter that gives much attention to detail. It calls attention to the service of those who are called on to perform the very important traditions and services inside the Temple. There is the lighting of the candles, the reading of the Parsha, the burning of the sacrifices—all symbolic acts that were so meaningful and important to the Israelites and to G-d.
Imagine, if we consider a small construction company that builds homes and all the work, effort and coordination it takes to bring such a major project to completion. In the same way, the construction of a synagogue requires the same amount of effort and coordination, and some of us here who have been involved in such an important task would argue that there is more detail, more coordination and more effort into building a synagogue. Since the temple was destroyed over 2,000 years ago, we have needed synagogues and the committees, funds and contractors to do all the preparation to build each one. It is really an arduous effort, a really big deal. Just think about it for a moment: we need so many items. So many people involved, management, so many committees and so many sleepless nights and aggravations.
Today we have the great honor to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of Norma Lee and Nathan Schwartz. Nathan is one of the past Presidents of Kneseth Israel and he was one of the members responsible for building this synagogue, 42 years ago. This man gave so much of himself to others and to the community - many sleepless nights and hours into the effort.
As we are gathered here today along with the new generation, we are happy to express our deep appreciation to a man who dedicated so much of his life to us and to our future. We learn from this week’s Torah portion that the people who serve in the Temple voluntarily, the priests, the Levi’s and the Servants, get a very special blessing from G-d. I would like to take this opportunity to invite Norma Lee and Nathan to the bimah for a special blessing.