I have this thing about using various melodies for the hymn Adon Olam. Recently, I did it to the tune of the theme from Gilligan’s Island. This was the story of the Skipper and his little buddy Gilligan, along with those who sailed with them on a three-hour tour on the S.S. Minnow, a trip that went horribly awry.
Bob Denver, Bob Hale Jr., Jim Backus … the movie star, the professor and Marianne … every one of these castaways was very different from one another. Each had their own talents, and each learned that, if they were going to survive on that island, then they had better learn to live together as one.
Of course, as far as I can remember, religion never seemed to come up in the show. I guess that was a good thing too, because they would have spent far too much of their time arguing over how many houses of worship to build and which one was better than the other and why.
Most of you remember that old joke about two people who are marooned on a deserted island for several years and, finally, a ship comes to rescue them. When the ship’s captain gets off to meet them, he finds that they have built three houses of worship … and, since there are only two castaways, he has to ask, “Why three?” To which they reply, “One is for me to pray in, the other for him, and the third neither of us would even think of ever walking into.”
According to the Torah, we were like one heart and one soul when we accepted G-d’s Law. That’s right, we were one … and isn’t that what we say of G-d in the Shema, Hear, Oh, Israel, the Lord our G-d is One!
Most of you have heard about the new math. But, while two plus two equaling three might be a bit confusing for you, get this, if you look up the word ONE in the dictionary, one of the definitions will say something along the lines of constituting a unified entity of two or more components … or being in agreement or union.
What on earth does that mean? Does it require two or more to make one?
On Friday nights, we chant L’Cha Dodi which tells us to greet the bride of Sabbath to greet Shabbat as we would a bride. In order for there to be a bride, there has to be another component. There has to be a partner, a groom. Of course, there would be no bride or groom without a mother and father … no mother and father without a bubbe and zaide, etc., etc. And there would be no one if not for G-d.
When Moses gathers all of Israel together again, it is not just to gather them together in one and the same place, at one and the same time, but to instill in them again one and the same vision. Sadly, I have heard far too many politicians on TV lately say that they do not share the same vision. It is time for all of us to gather and find that joint vision again– for that is what makes this country great.
If you want to be Echad … if you want to be one, then you have to EeChed. You have to unite. Let us unite again as one family, one nation, under one flag, under One G-d.
Shalom my friends,
Rabbi Craig H. Ezring
Rabbi Ezring is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach. We welcome you to join our warm and caring family for Shabbat and festival services. We’ll make your heart glow…who knows, you might even fall in love with Shul all over again.