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loving counts & the torah of wilderness

offerred at Bend The Arc's post election meeting, 11/5, 19 Heshvan 5781

~~~ Hey yall, early good shabbes

I'm Binya, an organizer in the Bay, and I was asked to ground us in this moment.

This moment of uncertainty. Of instigation and provocation. Of counting. Of stretched days and sleepless nights.

I was asked to ground us in the moment, and for me, the most grounding thing is to know that this has all happened, all happened, before.

Counting, and counting again, and uncertainty, are, if anything, some of the most key themes in the torah, in the lives of our ancestors in exodus.

Hashem counts our people, again and again, like the sages say, a shephard counts her beloved sheep.

And of course, she would, because our people, Her people, were in danger and at such risk. Leaving slavery, with cracked backs carrying crackers, with farswept wilderness all that was in front of them. A vague dream of promised land too far away to see.

She counted us out of love in that scary place.

If these past four years of trump have been a mitzrayim, have been a narrow place, we are at the cusp of vast wildnerness, we are in the wilderness, we are in a dangerous place with risks abounding.

But the most grounding thing to know, is that this has all happened before.

And not only has it happened, but the wilderness and its trials are where our story takes place, it's where the vast majority of the torah itself happens. The Torah actually *ends* before reaching the promised land - it begins in the chaos before creation, and ends, still in exodus.

And it is the wilderness where we received torah itself - on sinai, a mountain in the middle of nowhere, with revelation, rolling through the desert as we failed to know which way to turn.

I want to offer us, that we are in a wilderness. That it is right to be afraid. But that afraid is not all we can be. We can also be together and strong and forward-looking and ready to receive.

And not just by looking towards a promised land, and trying to dissociate from the wilderness we're in. Because the truth is, that no matter what, we are not headed to a promised land at the end of this count.

Biden is not a promised land. No president, no person, no man will set us truly free. And until we reach that freedom - until we reach that world in line with hashem's wisdom and love - we will always be in some sort of wilderness.

So we better learn how to live IN one. Not just through one.

Let's dream of a better world, yes please. But let's also be in this wilderness too. We need to, in order to fight to count every vote - like a loving shephard does her sheep -. And we need to, we should even WANT to, because there's torah here. Along with the fear and the pain there is torah.

Our ancestor's wilderness led one of the most lasting revelations in the history of humanity. In our wilderness, we can find solidarity. We can come together. We can organize. We can set ourselves up to get more free, even more free than we would've otherwise, to make a home in this wideness and the wildness to come so that we can ultimately reach, the true promise of freedom, that awaits us - through hard work, and hashem's help - and our descendants to come.

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