The blog of the Roaring Fork Valley (Reform) Jewish community
77 Meadowood Drive • Aspen, CO • 81611
Rabbi David Segal and Cantor Rollin Simmons

Friday, July 13, 2012

L'Dor VaDor

We had the privilege of having Jewish composer/rock star Josh Nelson join us in leading Shabbat services on July 13. Here is the sermon in song that I did with him.

Music has the power to illuminate, elevate, and acquaint and reacquaint us with texts and prayers. It is a way to express our deepest yearnings, hopes, and fears -- our joy and pain.

In the first song you'll hear words from the Modim Anachnu Lach (in the Amidah):
Tzur chayeinu, magein yisheinuatah hu l'dor vador.You are the rock of our lives,
the shield of our salvation,
from generation to generation.
The God image here, as I like to think of it, is the floor we stand on when we get out of bed in the morning. This God is the bedrock foundation of purpose, values, and meaning upon which our lives rest. This God is the center we come back to when we find ourselves scattered, purposeless, lost...

From generation to generation... What is our responsibility to those who came before us? To those who come after?

In Jewish tradition, we stand on the shoulders of giants. This means: we could not be where we are today without the efforts of our ancestors.

But it also means that we can see farther than they could -- into the future, into a new world that they may have have even understood.

In the Torah portion this week, Pinchas, there's an illustrative phrase after the census (Numbers 26:64-65):
Among these there was not one man of the Children of Israel who had been counted [by Moses and Aaron] in the Sinai wilderness. For Adonai had said for them: "They shall die in the wilderness."
So it is for us. Every generation inherits a world scarcely understood by the one before. Isn't it our role, and responsibility, to prepare the next generation to inherit? Their world, their Judaism, will not look like ours, just as ours differs from our parents and grandparents. That is the chain of tradition, from generation, l'dor vador...