B’haalotkha: Light The Lamps

Numbers, Chapter 8, Verses 1 & 2
 “And God spoke to Moses and said, when you mount the lamps, let the seven lamps give light at the front of the lampstand.”
Blessed Yah, Ruach HaOlam, breathing us in and breathing us out,
This community,
Sitting in this shul today
We know what a role model is
We know the example our rabbi offers us.
Am I right or am I right?
We are blessed in our rabbi.
Truly she lights the candles
At the front of the lampstand.
Thank you for the opportunity to stand with her.
Thank you for the opportunity to pray with her
Bless be Yah, Breathing Us In and Breathing Us Out.
We are one in the One-ness, as we light the lamps together.

9: 15 – 17
On the day that the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the Tabernacle, the Tent of the Pact; and in the evening it rested over the Tabernacle in the likeness of fire until morning. 16 It was always so: the cloud covered it, appearing as fire by night. 17 And whenever the cloud lifted from the Tent, the Israelites would set out accordingly; and at the spot where the cloud settled, there the Israelites would make camp.
Blessed be Yah, Breathing Us In and  Breathing Us Out
Giving us  The Blessed Cloud
Covering us during the day
Giving Us the Pillar of Fire
Guiding Us in the dark night
We can, we know,
Set out whenever we want.
And we can settle, we know,
Whenever we feel like it.
We don’t need clouds or pillers of fire
We’re American!
We’re Free!
But– Our way is lit by good example
Righteous anger motivates us
Compassionate love guides us.
We are free to be inspired.
Blessed Cloud
Covering us during the day
Pillar of Fire
Guiding Us in the dark night,
We give thanks for leadership
When it is hard to lead.
We give thanks for our community
When it is hard to follow.
Bless be Yah, Breathing Us In and Breathing Us Out.
We are free to lead and to follow when we choose.
May we always know when to do either.
When they were in Chatzerot, 1Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married: “He married a Cushite woman!”

Bless be Yah, Breathing Us In and Breathing Us Out.
Infinite, unknowable, impossible:
I love to gossip.
“He married a Cushite Woman!”
Oh definitely
I’m Miriam
Sitting in the back of the room
Whispering with my bro, Aaron,
Dishing the dirt on Moses
Mr. Big Shot
Who does he think he is?
We get high on that kind of talk sometimes
Don’t we?
It unites us, it thrills us
But it’s also the stuff of life
The social blood of the community
How else do you know how people are doing,
For good and for ill,
If you don’t talk about them?
The rabbis don’t care if your talk is well-intentioned
Between good social interaction
And bad malicious gossip
The rabbis, they don’t distinguish.
Doesn’t matter what you’re saying.
Talking behind someone’s back?
A shonda!
Lashon hara
Evil Tongue
Totally forbidden.
But Really?
Never talk about anyone behind their back?
Okay, just take me out and shoot me now.
I’m Miriam,
Sitting in the back of the room.
Well I’m only sort of Miriam,
Cause really
I don’t care who Moses married.
He married a Cushite woman
She’s not Jewish
She’s black
What do I care?
Mazel Tov!
What business is it of mine?
What business is it of Miriam and Aaron’s?
He’s Moses, for God’s Sake!
He does his Moses thing
I don’t see what his choice of spouse has to do with it.
I mean, God makes it quite clear
Aaron and Miriam are merely prophets
Which means
God sits in the back of their brains
And mumbles.
And if they’re lucky enough to hear God’s whispers
They only hear it in their dreams.
Behold, says God
And they interpret as best they can
But God speaks to Moses directly.
And Moses back to God.
Moshe Rabeinu can marry whoever the hell he wants,
And if Moses can, why can’t Ellen Lippmann?
But God does not like busybodies
So God comes down hard on Aaron and Miriam.
Withdraws the God-cloud from the mishkan during the day
Withdraws the God-fire from the mishkan at night.
They are devastated.
And if that’s not bad enough
God gives Miriam leprosy
And sends her out of the camp.
God doesn’t punish Aaron
At all
Biblical God is a sexist,
It’s a given.
Anyway,  the joke’s on God
Because after Miriam leaves the camp
God and the cloud come back
Then lifts it up to tell the people to set forth
But they will not move
They will not follow
Until Miriam is allowed back in the camp.
They need her.
So after a week God relents and she returns.
Moses may be Moses
But we need all our people
The ones who make the sacrifices
The ones who find the water
The ones who light the lamps
In the front of the lampstand
And the ones who light the lamps in the back.
Bless be Yah, Breathing Us In and Breathing Us Out.
We are one in the One-ness, as we light the lamps together.

Chapter 12, Verse 6
After that the people set out from Chatzerot and encamped in the wilderness of Paran.
Shabbat Shalom

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