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Rabbi Installation - Rabbi Emeritus Lewis MIntz Speech

To all of you gathered in our beautiful sanctuary on this Holy Shabbat, we send you affection and greetings from the beautiful and holy city of Jerusalem.

Although this long-planned, month-long visit to Israel places us over 5 thousand miles from our home and beloved community, my disappointment is lessened knowing that my thoughts and feelings are being shared with you all and – especially -- with our rabbi.
Near the end of the 4th book of the Torah, B'midbar, after God informed Moses that, after a span of 40 years, the time had come for him to leave behind his responsibilities and step away from his position of leadership, his immediate response is fascinating. Unlike some of our hyper-narcissistic national leaders, HE is thinking only of the People of Israel.

In chapter 28, Moses says: "Let Adonai, the God of the spirits of all flesh,
set a person over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them; who may lead them out and bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”
God reassures him by saying: "Take Joshua the son of Nun with you,
a man in whom is the Divine Spirit, and lay your hands upon him."
The Torah continues:

.......Moses did as Adonai commanded him.

He took Joshua and he laid his hands on him
and commissioned him before all the people, just as the Lord commanded.
.......And he charged Joshua son of Nun, saying:

"Be strong and resolute - CHAZAK VEH-EHMATZ."
This laying on of hands (in Hebrew: S'MICHAH) by Moses to Joshua, was seen by our ancient sages as giving physical expression of the transmission of knowledge, spiritual depth, and authority from teacher to student, master to disciple, generation to generation.
Michael, I deeply regret that I am not able to be with you tonight,
to metaphorically, along with others, lay my hands upon you as Moses did directly, with Joshua. (Although I seriously doubt that, 3,500 years ago on the Plains of Moab, it involved any hugging!).

Since late May, as I've been around CBE a bit more, and especially since the end of August, I have been able to experience and appreciate many of the ways in which you have taken on the mantle of rabbinical leadership; within our congregation, out in the community, and in cyberspace.
Naomi joins me in wishing you and Anthony KOL TUV.
May your obvious love for the treasures of our heritage and for the Jewish People, along with your passionate concern for the oppressed and victimized among God's creatures, continue to influence and motivate the families of our congregation as we continue MI CHAYIL EL CHAYIL - from spiritual strength to even greater strength.
Your colleague & congregant,

Lewis
 

Fri, September 20 2019 20 Elul 5779