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Our Mikdash Me'at

Saul Newman, KMS President


The central focus of the Yom Kippur musaf tefilla is the avodah that the Kohen Gadol performs in the mishkan. Our shul, KMS, is supposed to be a mishkan me’at. To what extent does the Yom Kippur spiritual experience today reflect the avodah of the mishkan in our mishkan me’at?

Of course there are obvious differences. Today there is no avodah by the Kohen Gadol and no karbanot  and sadly there is no visible presence of the shechinah resting in KMS. Beyond these differences, part of the avodah in the Mishkan was a passive experience for B’nei Yisrael. Most of B’nei Yisrael were silent observers of the national repentance process led by the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur. People hoped and prayed for the successful completion of the technically complex service of the Kohen Gadol. If he completed all the many steps of the process correctly and with the right kavanah, he would emerge from the Kodesh Kadoshim unscathed and that, in and of itself, would signify the success of the national repentance. This was coupled with their personal teshuva. Today’s repentance is an active one for all of us, as both an intensely personal and communal experience. On a personal level, every one of us has a direct connection to Hashem and confesses our sins, repents and seeks forgiveness from Hashem and from fellow human beings. On a communal level, we can only seek full teshuvah in a communal minyan where we recite “al chet shechatanu,” emphasizing our communal sins and our desire for communal teshuvah. Although the kahal, Rabbi Weinberg, and our ba’alei tefilla inspire us on our journey of repentance, this is an active individual and communal journey. We are participants in determining our communal fate and are not passive observers in any sense.

In other important ways the experience of “then” and “now” are nearly identical. The creation, maintenance and functioning of the Beit Hamikdash were the tasks of all of Am Yisrael. Every member of B’nei Yisrael had to give of their monetary resources to the Mishkan and Beit Hamikdash. Every member of B’nei Yisrael was asked to give what they could of their valued possessions, time, skills, and resources to the building and upkeep of this house in which Hashem dwelt. In that sense there were no passive observers. For KMS to function, we too cannot have any passive observers. We need to draw on all our resources, talents, and time. Only that way can we truly make KMS a place where Hashem can dwell. Just like no gift of resources, talent, or time was too small to service the Mishkan, so too all gifts of resources, talent, or time are precious to KMS and equally valued.

The success of KMS is not dependent on one person, or twenty people, or even a hundred. It is dependent on each one of us giving of our resources if we can, of our talents that we have, and of our precious time to make KMS a more special place every day. We must communally pool those resources and skills to succeed as one.

KMS must never be a passive experience. It must be a place  we are all actively engaged in crafting our own spiritual experience. I invite every one of you to send me a suggestion of how you want to be involved in KMS in this new year. I welcome your ideas, talents, and time.  If you are not sure what you can do for KMS, reach out to me in the new year, and I will help you find an appropriate project where you can help create a more dynamic, spiritual and uplifting KMS. That will insure we all have a genuine ketivah v’chatimah tovah.  

Tue, September 22 2020 4 Tishrei 5781