Dvar Torah - Bamidbar
This week we heard the news that Sheryl Sandberg has resigned as Meta (Facebook) COO. While she will remain on the board, she will no longer serve as an executive at the company. Sheryl wrote that she plans to use the time to rest and consider next steps.
For Facebook, this is also a time of transition. They are not planning to fill Ms Sandberg's position. Instead, they will restructure the company and put the current chief of growth in charge of operations, merging the product and the marketing sides of the company. Facebook is using this opportunity to reconsider its course and adopt a new path forward, a different approach from the one they were already on. They recognised that times of transition are also times of hope and opportunity, a time to take advantage of the moment and build a better future.
This week's parsha is just such a transition (in disguise). The Jews have either travelled to Mt. Sinai or lived under the mountain up to this point. They have imbibed the Torah at its wellspring, living in the most spiritual of realities. They have discussed Temple worship, blessings for the nation, and the bare essentials necessary to keep society running under those circumstances. This week they begin to transition to everyday life. They leave the mountain and begin their long trek through the desert. They must deal with the problems that come with functioning in the real world. Where will everyone live? How will they travel? How are they to resolve disputes? How are they to protect the most vulnerable in society? These are only a few of the questions which require attention in the next three weeks. The process of building a just community and bringing the light of Torah into the world will be full of mundanities and challenges, requiring constant adjustments and changes of course.
As we are about to receive the Torah again ourselves, on Shavuot, it is time to think about our own new beginnings. Australia has a new government, and many of us have launched new projects or phases of our life post-pandemic. Those moments of change must remain true to our principles and goals. We must allow what we like about what we were doing before to inflect our newest pursuits.
Many moments present as the end of something old and the beginning of something else. In reality, we can make them transitions where we seek to realise old goals in a new context. It's up to us to pursue our dreams, even across those transitions, and ensure they end only in success.