A few weeks ago members of our community had the special opportunity to participate in a dedication of a new bunk at URJ Camp Harlam, funded by many KI congregants. As we gathered in the new space in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania several of us shared our own memories, from 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago, of being at camp and the profound influence that place had on our development. The campers from KI who were enrolled at camp first session as well as the adults there for the dedication had the opportunity to share a wish for the space, something they hoped would happen in that bunk, a positive feeling, emotion or experience.
Many of us have those special summertime locations. Whether it is a shore house that has been in the family for generations, a treasured vacation spot, or a backyard chair or garden, there is something magical about the summertime that has to do with more than just weather, it’s the pace of life and the opportunity for reflection.
This week in our Torah portion cycle we begin the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy in Greek means “second telling”. It is Moses’s opportunity to recount the journey of the Jewish people of out of Egypt and towards the Promised Land. Like all good retellings it changes some of the details, and focuses on what the author finds important, like listening to God and walking in God’s path. In Hebrew the book is called “Devarim or words.” Devar is a word, but it is also a thing – like D’var Acher, another thing, another thought. Devarim is the words, thoughts, and impressions that Moses, the greatest prophet of the Jewish people, wants and needs to share with the Jewish people. The book is always read in the Summer leading into the High Holidays. It transforms us from a state of reflection to a state of action, reminding us that words matter, intentions matter, and actions matter.
There is a correlation between magic and words, at their very root. Abra C’dabra is Aramaic for A – daber c-daber – As I speak so it will be turned into this thing. (Debar and Devar are the same in Hebrew sharing the bet/vet root). Summertime magic – As I speak so it will be... Summertime and summer spaces are for longings, imaginations, dreams and visions. As the summer turns towards Fall, it is our job to turn those longings into actions.
As we turn towards the second half of the Summer may you be blessed with those magical moments, those wishes, and day dreams. May you have the strength and courage to turn your longing into action, if not now, then soon.