וַ֠יֵּרָא מַלְאַ֨ךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֵלָ֛יו בְּלַבַּת־אֵ֖שׁ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֑ה וַיַּ֗רְא וְהִנֵּ֤ה הַסְּנֶה֙
בֹּעֵ֣ר בָּאֵ֔שׁ וְהַסְּנֶ֖ה אֵינֶ֥נּוּ אֻכָּֽל׃ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֔ה אָסֻֽרָה־נָּ֣א וְאֶרְאֶ֔ה
אֶת־הַמַּרְאֶ֥ה הַגָּדֹ֖ל הַזֶּ֑ה מַדּ֖וּעַ לֹא־יִבְעַ֥ר הַסְּנֶֽה׃ וַיַּ֥רְא יְהוָ֖ה כִּ֣י סָ֣ר
לִרְא֑וֹת וַיִּקְרָא֩ אֵלָ֨יו אֱלֹהִ֜ים מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֗ה וַיֹּ֛אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֥ה מֹשֶׁ֖ה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר
הִנֵּֽנִי׃ וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אַל־תִּקְרַ֣ב הֲלֹ֑ם שַׁל־נְעָלֶ֙יךָ֙ מֵעַ֣ל רַגְלֶ֔יךָ כִּ֣י הַמָּק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר
אַתָּה֙ עוֹמֵ֣ד עָלָ֔יו אַדְמַת־קֹ֖דֶשׁ הֽוּא׃
“An angel of Adoani appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed.
Moses said, “I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why doesn’t the bush burn up?”
When Adonai saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him out of the bush: “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not come closer. Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.”
Overlooking a breathtaking view of jagged-edged limestone karsts jutting out like a force from the depths of the Andaman Sea on the coast of Thailand, a fellow Israeli rock-climber turned to me after a particularly challenging ascent and shared, a bit hesitantly, that here, far away from home, he was having some strange new feelings.
“Tell me more,” I invited.
“Well,” he began, “I grew up completely secular, and had no connection to anything religious, but now I’m starting to feel very spiritual.”
“Have you experienced anything like that?” he asked.
With a nod and a grin, I shared that I had, and we began to talk.
“I’d love to learn more,” he said, “and develop a bit of a better understanding of the spiritual world, and isn’t it a shame that we don’t have spirituality in Judaism? (!)”
Like Moses, who discovered God through a [seemingly] burning bush while alone in the desert, my fellow rock-climber had to leave home and seek solitude in nature to have this awakening – to truly understand what he had at home.
Some of us may feel this way as well. For many people, going to Israel is all about seeing and experiencing the wonders and miracles of the modern Jewish State – the sights and sounds, the people, the food, the language, and the culture. Such an experience may elicit thoughts about one’s own Jewish identity, level of observance, and community.
Indeed, there is nothing like first-hand, revelatory experiences to inspire action. And as Moses did, now is the time for us to act.
This Tuesday, January 21, voting will open in the United States for the World Zionist Congress (WZC) elections.
This election is our chance to change what it means to be Jewish in the Jewish State and to provide more options to the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who understand that today’s reality means that having a Jewish State does not necessarily mean having a Jewish community.
They understand, too, that the polarizing dichotomy between “religious” and “secular” no longer meets the needs of those the mainstream and that the Reform Movement offers different ways to be Jewish and is changing what it means to be religious.
This election is about a moment like Moses experienced in the wilderness. It is about an experience and a feeling.
It is about answering yes, Jewish life can be different; answering that Judaism is about welcoming the stranger, treating each other with dignity and respect because we have all been created in the image of the Divine. It is about giving rights, strength, and voice to the powerless and about working together for justice and equality, kindness and compassion, and toward the sacred mission of a Jewish and democratic state.
To make that sacred mission a reality, we’re calling on each of you to speak out and have your voice heard – to Vote Reform in the World Zionist Congress elections. Your vote will support the Reform Movement in Israel, helping it grow and reach new and previously unengaged audiences. It will help determine the leadership of the influential and important National Institutions and partner us with Israeli political parties, enabling us to have a voice in Israeli society.
Just as Moses felt something he’d never felt before and discovered a spirit in the wilderness that called upon him to act, so, too, are we calling on you to act – to Vote Reform in the World Zionist Congress elections. This Tuesday, we’re counting on you to respond as Moses did: “Hineini” (“Here I am.”).
This piece is cross-posted on urj.org Click Here to Read!
Learn more about the 2020 World Zionist Congress election.