A Shabbat Message from Rabbi Bob Freedman:
Every so often we read in the Torah a verse or two that grabs us and won't let go. This week I was moved anew by Exodus 19:4-6, "I lifted you up on eagle's wings and I brought you to me...and you will be a treasure for Me from among all nations, for all the earth is Mine. And you will be for Me a nation of priests and a holy people..."
It's common to refer to Torah as "the law." True, there's a lot of law written on that scroll - dry, difficult to interpret and apply - especially in this week's portion. References to feelings or the life of the spirit in its columns are few. (I'm choosing not to notice continual kvetching!)
So when I see a verse that sends a shiver up my spine, I sit up and listen. There are the Israelites, camped at the foot of Mount Sinai, in a daze, three months after fleeing Egypt with unleavened bread on their backs. Free after lifetimes of back-shattering slavery. Rescued by a miracle that blew aside the sea water blocking them while over rock and sand Egyptian chariots rumbled in pursuit. Wandering across a howling desert, led by a man possessed by God. Waiting at the foot of the mountain, waiting for no-one knew what - maybe for God to appear to them.
Then God tells them, "It was I. I brought you here. I lifted you up on eagle's wings - soft, strong, powerful and swift. And I carried you here to be with Me, to this holy moment in this holy place. It's a step on your journey to be a full-time holy people, forever in touch with the divine."
It's erev Shabbes. I invite you to think of where you are. Think of all the winding roads that led you here. Think about all the planned moves, and all the mad, crazy coincidences that blew you here. All your life you've been carried to this moment.
Lord, we're here, set down in this place, this moment just before the Sabbath. It's a moment in our journey when we ask You to open our eyes to see, to look at Your eagle's wings that lifted us. Help us to see that we are treasured, part of a sacred family. Give us the trust that Your eagle's wings will carry us yet a long way. You are the source of our blessings, who lifts us and gives us vision.