Shabbat Hachodesh Sermon Rabbi Moshe P. Weisblum Rabbi Weisblum's First Sermon as Congregation Kneseth Israel Rabbi March 9, 2002
I would like to dedicate my sermon today to my new Kneseth IsraeI family and to the late Rabbi Rosenblatt, May he rest in peace.
This week’s portion starts off with a wonderful sentence.... Moses gathered and assembled all the Jews and unified them. Moses by himself was not able to gather all the Jewish people. What happened in reality? According to the Text, the children of Israel had just gotten through the episode of the Golden Calf. Moses needed to bring these people together to form a real unified nation.
Moses needed other people to help him. He needed the Kohanim and other leaders to help him to shape the people into a nation. Everyone did his/her share in order to achieve success. In much the same way, our whole KI family should feel part of sharing the responsibility of uniting. Everyone in our community should feel that we are all one extended family. A synagogue is a person’s second home. Therefore, everyone in this community should feel that the synagogue is his or her second home.
Abraham Lincoln said and I quote: "A house divided cannot stand."
At this point, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge with gratitude all of the founders of the synagogue. They were the first ones to create the synagogue in unity. I feel that it is important that we also thank all the people who have worked so arduously through the times to bring the synagogue to what it is today. The institution we have today is the direct result of the tremendous effort and devotion lavished on it in the past.
I would like to dedicate a special word of honor and recognition to all the Rabbis that have served Knesseth Israelcommunity. In particular I want to honor our beloved Rabbi Morris Rosenblatt may he rest in peace, who dedicated about forty years of his life to KI synagogue. We all are honored to have his Ayshis Chayil, Rebbetzin Esther, as one of our enduring leaders and role models. Esther still dedicates much of her time and energy to make this wonderful community our second home. We will always appreciate her services and devotion.
Imagine, what the Knesseth Israel founders would say if they could look upon the progress that has been made as the result of all their toil and labor. What would they think about Knesseth Israel achievement as of today? I have a strong feeling that they would be thankful for all of the gains that have been accomplished by their followers. They would appreciate the continuation of our daily minyan, they would be grateful for the continuation of the Torah study, and they would be pleased about the continuation of all synagogues’ activities. They have what we call a Yiddishah Nachas to see the continuity from where they began.
I just learn the Annapolis slogan "traditionally old and progressively new".
Let me relate to you a famous story from the Talmud:
Once, a disciple was about to leave his Rabbi. The disciple said: Pray Master, bless me. His Rabbi replied: Let me tell you a parable:
To what is this comparable? A man who was traveling in the desert was hungry, weary and thirsty. He came upon a tree the fruits of which were sweet. Its shade was pleasant. And a stream of water was flowing beneath it. He ate of its fruits, drank of the water, and rested under its shade. When he was about to continue his journey, he said: Tree, O Tree, with what shall I bless you? Shall I say to you, ‘May your fruits be sweet’? They are sweet already. Shall I say to you, ‘May your shade be pleasant’? It is already pleasant. Shall I say to you, ‘May a stream of water flow beneath you? Lo, a stream of water flows already beneath you. Therefore I say, ‘May it be G-d's will that all the branches taken from you and planted shall grow to be like you.
The Master said to the disciple: "so it is with you. With what shall I bless you? Shall I bless you with knowledge of the Torah? You already possess knowledge of the Torah. Shall I bless you with riches? You have riches already. Shall I bless you with children? You have children already. Hence I say, ‘May it be G-d's will that your offspring be like unto you."
I would like to conclude by saying, that it is really wonderful to have such a glorious past. It is even more wonderful to continue in this way so that our future in our synagogue will be a continuation of our past. Certainly, we will strive for improvements but we will always pray that it may be G-d’s will that we will continue to maintain and preserve this synagogue in accordance with the wonderful tradition of our past. As we said before: "traditionally old and progressively new".