In Parshat Bechukotai, we read the verse: 

נָתַתִּי שָׁלוֹם בָּאָרֶץ וּשְׁכַבְתֶּם וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד 

God says, “I shall offer wholeness in the land; you shall dwell without fear.” 

This sense of dwelling in wholeness was powerfully felt at our Grade 1 Kabbalat Siddur ceremony today. 

Today, the Grade One students created a spiritual משכן (Mishkan) – a dwelling place for God. They contributed their voices, minds, and hearts to create a beautiful Kabbalat HaSiddur service attended by family and friends. 

For the past few months, the Grade One students have been learning about community and about the two kinds of ‘hearts’ that create community: חכם לב (chacham lev) the “wise or skilled heart” and נדיב לב (nadiv lev) the “generous heart.” They have been learning how we bring together our intelligence, skills, and talent– our חכם לב along with a willingness to contribute and care — our נדיב לב to create a strong community. In doing so, we create, just as the ancient Israelites did, a משכן – a dwelling place for God. The ancient Israelites created a physical משכן, by offering their talents of carpentry, weaving, and jewelry. 

Today, the Grade One students helped create a spiritual משכן by offering their voices, minds, and hearts to a beautiful Kabbalat HaSiddur ceremony. Their families joined them in a community prayer, תפילה בציבור and witnessed the חכמי לב — the skills each of our students learned to read the Hebrew prayers; families were invited to be נדבי לב – generous participants in our community prayer. Together, by creating community, we created a משכן, a dwelling place for God. 

This Shabbat may we all dwell with God in wholeness, without fear. 

Shabbat Shalom 

Moreh Greg