Dvar Torah – Parshat Hukkat

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Rabbi Esther Reed Cropped (2)Do you like to sing? If so, you’ll want to hear about this…In this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Hukkat, God tells Moses to instruct the children of Israel to come together so that God can give them water. Immediately after that, Israel breaks into song, literally singing “Spring up, O well, sing to it!”

Rabbi Saadia Gaon wrote in the 10th century that each person would respond to their friend in singing the song. Thus, many voices would rise together to sing, and some would lead “call and response” singing as well. The metaphor of singing together relates to the idea that each person can bring a song in their own voice to contribute to the community. Whether a camper or a staff member loves to swim or play sports, loves tefilla (prayer) or radio, each person brings his or her own unique qualities to make camp Ramah special.

This text also made me think about the wonderful experience of singing at Ramah. From Friday night to Shabbat afternoon in the Hadar Ochel (dining hall), from spirited prayers to various times during the week, Ramah has many opportunities for campers and staff alike to come together in song. The summer is just getting started, but we are all jointly singing songs from our tradition, raising our spirits (but hopefully not any water) to express our joy and gratitude.

“If you Wanna Sing out, Sing Out!” by Rabbi Esther Reed, Yoetzet Solelim & Bogrim