It was a small group of new rabbis, eight men and women, but what a group. Ordination at Hebrew Union College is a fascinating experience. To tell the truth, I was sort of pea-green with envy at the prospect of getting to study for five years: Torah, talmud, Hebrew, homiletics, cantillation, liturgy, philosophy, theology. And with the best rabbis. The highlight of the service, for me, was when the newly minted rabbis stood and faced their teachers and recited the Kaddish d'Rabbanan, the special kaddish honoring teachers. It is said daily in traditional synagogues, and I wish it were in the Reform movement. It is also said after studying holy texts.
Listen to it here:
Upon Israel, and upon our sages, and upon their disciples, and upon all the disciples of their disciples, and upon all those who occupy themselves with the Torah, here or in any other place, upon them and upon you, may there be abundant peace, grace, kindness, compassion, long life, ample sustenance and deliverance, from their Father in heaven; and say Amen.
In Judaism, where study is elevated to the level of worship, even commanded, our teachers are our greatest asset. Teaching and learning are, in themselves, holy acts. Take a moment, now, to thank a special teacher.
What will you teach? What will you learn?
Kim Phillips is a Judaica artist in Nashville, Tennessee. Click here for bio.