“Recall, Remember, Celebrate”

Posted on May 17, 2023

By Hazzan Jenna Greenberg.


Ki mitzion tetze Torah udvar Hashem mirushalayim.
Torah shall come from Zion, the word of Adonai from Jerusalem.

This final half of Isaiah 2:3 is a familiar one, as we recite this passage every time we take the Torah out of the ark. But it bears a particular weight this week, and for 3 different reasons:

  1. This biblical quote is significant to all Jews around the world as this Shabbat, we begin reading from the 4th book of the Torah, known to us in English as Numbers. But its Hebrew name, Bamidbar, in the wilderness, is particularly meaningful to us. As Rabbi Reuven Hammer z”l describes in his Or Chadash commentary: “We…recall the days of the wilderness when the Ark, the archetype of the Ark in which we keep the Torah, led the people on their journey. So too does the Torah lead us on our journey of life.” Every time we remove the scroll to be publicly read throughout the week (Shabbat Mincha, Monday and Thursday mornings, Shabbat morning), we recall this age-old practice whose origins are referenced throughout the Torah and codified into practice during the Second Temple period. And we connect our modern day practice to its ancestral origins.
  2. This Friday, we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, which the Knesset established as an annual celebration every year on the 28th of Iyyar. We celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967 by adding celebratory prayers to our daily services. “…The word of Adonai from Jerusalem.” This phrase, recited whenever we take out the Torah, has even greater meaning this week. In the context of Yom Yerushalayim, we recognize the significance of this holy city throughout Jewish  history. Bringing it back to its author, Hammer shares the following: “Isaiah, in his great vision of the end of days, Isaiah saw the nations coming to Jerusalem to worship our God and learn God’s teaching: Torah.”
  3. Which leads me to the third reason for the significance of Ki Mitzion to us this week. It should come as no surprise that we at Beth El have been working together as a kehila kedosha, a holy community, to create our very own Torah scroll. So many of us have participated in fulfilling the 613th Mitzvah, to write a Torah, as it states towards the end of the Torah in Devarim 31:19, “Therefore, write down this poem and teach it to the people of Israel.” We will complete this new scroll on Sunday morning, May 21st, gathered together in the Field Family Sanctuary, reminiscent of the gathering of B’nei Israel at Har Sinai, as our ancestors prepared to receive the Torah on the festival of Shavuot, which we will celebrate next week.

We will recall our time Bamidbar, in the wilderness, for all Jews, as “the Torah leads us on our journey of life.”

We will remember Yerushalayim, when we place our new Torah in our Aron haKodesh for the very first time.

We will celebrate the awesomeness of having created an entire Torah, together, as a kehila kedosha, a holy community.

As we recited at the end of Vayikra last Shabbat: Hazak, Hazak, v’nitchazek! May we all be strengthened through this holy communal experience.

Mazal Tov to all of us!