Sunday 17 Tammuz
We have all “broken our fast here” in Sugar Grove, PA, and we are reflecting on a really meaningful day.
We had late wake-up and tefillah at 9:00, including special selichot for the fast day. The chanichim had a shiur with their regular morim, after tefillah. They learned that King David requested to build the temple, but Hashem denied him that honor. Why? The chanichim discussed the idea of peace, the temple and the wars David haMelech fought…Even though he could not build it, he wanted to be involved so he bought the grounds for the temple – the threshing floor of Aravna the Yevusi. Following shiur the chanichim went, by eidah, around to 5 stations to learn more about the meaning of the day. Each stop taught the chanichim about some object in our history that was misunderstood by some, or might have been misunderstood by some, as an object with inherent meaning instead of a means to an end in servicing Hashem:
- Machal did a skit about Moshe breaking the Luchot, because he was nervous that Bnei Yisrael would worship them, just like they worshipped the golden calf. They were attaching to much importance and holiness to objects.
- Machal did a skit about the aron in the mishkan, which the Jews brought out to war , but then the Plishtim stole it and Bnei Yisrael had to remember that yes, it IS a holy object but IT isn’t what wins us wars!
- Beit Midrash staff did a skit about the Kotel (Western Wall) and how we need to be careful not to ever worship the wall. It is a retaining wall under the Temple Mount and we should stay focused on the spot where the Beit haMikdash stood, (since that is where we accessed Hashem most easily).
- Beit Midrash staff did a skit about Yirmiyahu admonishing the nation that they think there is power in sacrifices and temple service – but that needs to be a reflection of their submitting to Hashem’s mitzvot, which includes so much more! We need to remember how to live with morality and justice and kindness!
- Beit Midrash staff did a skit about the copper snake that Moshe made for Bnei Yisrael to look at and be healed by their bites from the desert snakes (last week’s parsha). But Bnei Yisrael had to learn that it wasn’t the snake healing, it was our focusing UP on the Heavens and thinking about Hashem and davening to Him.
They were all done so well and made their point powerfully. The hour gave the chanichim something to think about for the rest of the day. We davened mincha and then had the option of some thought-provoking movies OR rest.
Later on in the evening, each bunk had a sicha (conversation with their counselors) about a topic related to the fast day, and then we all met in the indoor Beit Knesset for singing and a story, followed by maariv and the break-fast meal.
Being in camp gives us a really special way to spend a fast day, focusing on the meaning of the day with very little else to do or worry about.
Machal and make-up Machal each went to the Jewish cemetery nearby in Corry, PA and discussed the old Jewish communities in America and what community means.
Tomorrow Machal leaves for Philadelphia and make-up machal is heading out to Virgina. Nesiah Tova!!