We just completed the congregation meeting which authorized next fiscal year's budget. I began with "Ethics of the Fathers" and continue in Chapter 2. "If there is no Torah, there is no flour, if there is no flour, there is no Torah." Flour here does not literally mean grain; it means the resources to eat and to live. If you don't have the basics of life, it's hard to live a life of Torah... you're just trying to survive. For the past three or so years, in some ways, that's where Kehilat Shalom has been. As our membership and school populations have decreased, we, the Board, have spend almost all of our time on finances, almost nothing on program and more importantly, on relationship. So I have a request: please don't burn out my successor by involving him every week in the fiscal issues of our community. Let the rabbi inspire, lead, and engage people in Torah and let that Torah lead to the resources in people and dollars to sustain Kehilat Shalom. Second request, to the members of the Board themselves: don't spend all your valuable free time on the fiduciary needs of the community. Board members too need to do Torah: to study, to meditate, to make the world a better place, and to be with friends... otherwise the challenges of balancing the budget will drain the spirit. We need both flour and Torah.
Finally, in Chapter 18 within this week's parsha, God speaks to Aaron the priests and tells then: "I make your sacred work a gift of dedication." The work of the leadership of our community is a sacred gift of service to God. Through our service to this community we bring meaning, relevance, holiness, and sacred connection to each other and to God.