By: Madeline Waggoner, S’ganim Unit Head
When Loui came to me with a tentative schedule for S’ganim about ten days before the session started there was an hour on it called kehillah, or community. So I asked him, “What exactly are my kids going to do for that hour?”. His response? “It’s up to you.”
Being the unit head for a brand new unit on camp has obviously been exciting to say the least, being able to watch two groups of kids truly become a kehillah. But on the other hand the task is extremely daunting. What were my kids going to do for an hour, every day, in order to become a community? But it wasn’t until the first staff Shabbat at camp when Rabbi Asher Knight told the following story that I finally found my inspiration for what would become S’ganim kehillah:
In the beginning God created the Sun and the Moon as equals, both of equal size and equal intensity. But the Moon was upset and he said to God, “If I am exactly the same as the Sun, how will everyone know that I am greater?”
God wondered for a minute, “You have a point, how will everyone know of your greatness?” But instead of getting larger, the Moon began to shrink as if at the exact same time the Sun started to enlarge.
“But I don’t understand. I wanted to be bigger than the Sun, and now I am inferior in size. This is not what I wanted.” God responded, “I heard what you said, but you need to be content with yourself. I created you in my image exactly how you are supposed to be.”
But the Moon was not satisfied. He still wanted to be greater than the sun.
“Fine. If you insist that I be smaller than the Sun, at least let me shine more brightly. That way, people will know that I am greater than the Sun because I will have more intensity.”
God wondered for another minute, “You have a point, how will everyone know of your greatness?” But instead of getting brighter, the Moon’s brightness began to decrease until all of its light was removed from it and given to the Sun instead.
“But I don’t understand. I wanted to be brighter than the Sun, and now I am inferior in not only size but in brightness as well!” God responded, “I heard what you said, but you need to be content with yourself. Instead of becoming brighter you will not emit your own light, but instead will only be able to reflect light from the Sun. I created you in my image exactly how you are supposed to be.”
And with that I figured it out! This theme of creation was going to define our entire summer: we were creating a new unit, and after the summer my kids were about to create an entire new chapter in their lives as they are about to start high school.
Like the Moon, we are all created in God’s image and it is so important to remember that. If I could make one of my kids be confident with who they are, to stand up for what they believe in and not let others dictate their morals even though they are entering high school, I would have considered my summer a success. Whoever and however we are is exactly how we were meant to be and although it may be hard, we must try our best never to forget that.
Everything on this earth was created in God’s image, betzellum Eloheim, during the first six days of the world’s existence. Whether or not we take the creation story at face value, it is still a useful tool in understanding the deliberate choice that God made to create us exactly the way we are.
Over the past few weeks we have explored this idea of a more allegorical meaning of the story of creation and its ability to live in harmony with our 21st century view of evolution and of being created in God’s image via activities all around camp. From swimming in the lake, to relating decision making to The Matrix, Mean Girls and Star Wars, from touring the garden to creating our very own Beit S’ganesset, from learning about the Scopes Trial to exploring An Inconvenient Truth the summer has without a doubt been one I, and hopefully my kids, will never forget.