Last shabbat I joined the middle school for its annual shabbaton. The students planned the programming, prepared song sheets, led Tefillah, Torah reading and shabbat singing, and played an epic game of musical chairs! Throughout the shabbaton, I marveled at the leadership, independence and thought that our middle schoolers exhibited. What captivated me most was watching our students as they sang shabbat melodies with ruach (spirit) and fervor. As their voices rose in harmony and filled the atrium with incredible sounds, they often linked arms and swayed or danced to the rhythms. And our 6 th , 7 th and 8 th graders went out of their way to do so with a student from a different grade level or class. On the shabbaton, our students were brought together and cultivated a sense of unity and purpose in their celebration of shabbat.
A model for this unity appears in this week's parashah. The Israelites camped at the base of Mt. Sinai in anticipation of receiving the Torah. To describe the encamped Children of Israel at that defining moment in our nation's history, the Torah uses a singular verb rather than a plural one. Rashi explains that at the moment of God's revelation at Mt. Sinai, the Jewish nation stood as one person with one heart. We were a united and singular being, bound by our shared experience, beliefs, and excitement.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,