This week in Parshat Korach, we read how a person named Korach and his followers “gathered together,” against Moshe and Aaron. Korach and his followers questioned why Moshe and Aaron should be the leaders of the people, if indeed all the people were Holy. While their question may have been legitimate, their way of going about it, by “gathering together against” their leaders was not. With our students we talked about the different reasons that people “gather together.” Usually the Hebrew verb lehikahel — gather together — has positive connotations. We gather together to pray, to celebrate, to learn. The word lehikahel is related to the word kehillah, which means community. Sometimes people gather together for reasons that aren’t the best. We see this when a group of people gathers together to gang up on others, to make others feel bad, or to exclude others from an activity.
As we finish our year together at Heschel, we are grateful for our community and all the times we have gathered together to learn and celebrate. This week we gathered under beautiful summer skies for our end of year picnic. Yesterday, Grade 8 families gathered in the morning for tefillah service led by the graduating class, and again, in the evening for their graduation ceremony. Both gatherings were opportunities to experience nachas, and all the bitter-sweet emotions of graduating.
Wishing you all many happy gatherings (simchot !).
We look forward to gathering with you all very soon.