[This week’s Haveil Havalim is here!]
[First: Let the record show that Allentown, PA had snow before we did in Toronto. Granted, it’s been below 0 (Celsius) off and on for a few weeks already, and granted we’re expecting snow any day, but to all of my former lantzmen who have made snow jokes for the past several months, I say thee Thbbth.]
Way back when, I wrote about what I would, and would not, miss about the shul rabbinate. Some nine months later, and some four months removed from the rabbinate, I’m surprised by how much of that post was accurate.
In particular, I am surprised to realize how much I miss the weekly derashah.
True, I always said I would miss it, but I never really believed that. I thought that
-the tension of so many weeks of straining for a coherent idea at deadline,
-the sweat of re-editing to convey ideas clearly and compellingly,
-the nervousness of getting up to speak,
-the downer of the weeks when there was no substantive feedback,
-as well as my overall sense that the derashah’s role is way overblown,
would make me altogether glad that I was no longer delivering those weekly messages.
But it’s not so; I do miss developing a (hopefully) deep thought, checking it for flaws, crafting it into a talk that will hit on all cylinders from beginning to end. I miss standing up there and sharing a thought I believe is substantive and meaningful and relevant for our lives, our relationships with HaShem and with each other. And I miss the discussions afterward. The craftsmanship part is still tough, and I do remember the weeks when I thought I had said something thought-provoking but drew no response. Nonetheless, I still miss it.
The derashah really is unlike any other opportunity. Writing a thought in our weekly Toronto Torah doesn’t replace the feeling of sharing it with people live. Delivering parshah classes doesn’t do it, either. The derashah truly is unique.
Why do I write this now? Because next week we are having a Shabbaton at Shaarei Shomayim, and I will be delivering the derashah, and I actually find myself excited at the opportunity. That feeling may change if I’m not ready by Thursday night, of course… but until then, I’m going to have a fun week of anticipation.