“Parsha and Purpose” – Behaalotcha 5780
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha
“The Song Doesn’t Remain the Same: How Each Generation Connects with God Differently”
The Song Doesn’t Remain the Same: How Each Generation Connects with God Differently
One of the vessels that we’re introduced to in this week’s parsha is the trumpets.
The trumpets have a unique quality to them. You see, every other vessel that Moshe forges, with the help of others, can be used for all generations: the candelabra, the menora, the aron, the ark. However, the chatzotzrot, the trumpets – which call the Jewish people together in times of joy and in times of challenge, such as warfare – the law is that those trumpets have to be fashioned anew in every single generation. Menachot 28b
Why is that? Why is it that all the other vessels in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, were for generations, but the trumpets were only for one generation, and then they had to be remade, refashioned, redone?
I believe that there’s an important message in this for us: that every generation has its own music, its own connection to God.
My music is not the same music as my children’s, and is not the same music as my parents’.
My connection to God is also different, and therefore the chatzotzrot – the trumpets that call the Jewish people together, and symbolize this ‘music of the moment’ – cannot be fossilized. It has to be relevant. It has to speak to us in our generation.
And therefore, etched within the laws of the trumpets is the recognition of the fact that the Holy Ark is eternal, the candelabra, the menora, is eternal, the lechem hapanim where the showbread is put is eternal.
But the trumpets, the music that allows a generation to march to a relationship with God, is renewed, recast, in every generation.
What’s our music?
What’s the way we connect?
It can’t be the same way our parents connected, and it’s different from the way our children connect. We have to find a space for our children to create their own music. We have to give them that space, and we have to make sure that we’re always searching for our own music to connect with God.
B’ezrat Hashem, we’ll understand the message, “utekatem bachatzotzrot”, to blast those trumpets, to create our own music, to find a way in which we truly can connect in this generation to God, and to make sure Judaism is meaningful and purposeful; not just a relic of the past but rather something that leads us to the future.