So from the notes in the previous post, I pulled together an outline of a d’var, gave it once to Spidey (my cat) and headed over to my synagogue. When I started to walk in the door, I saw a car in the Rabbi’s parking spot. Rabbi Schaalman’s parking spot. Gasp.
Rabbi Schaalman is in his early 90s and has been at Emanuel for over 50 years. Imagine showing up at the company basketball league and realizing that Michael Jordan is on your team. Or that you are about to deliver a witty speech and find out that Mark Twain is in the audience. Or do stand-up comedy in front of Bill Cosby.
That is realizing you have to give your sermon in front of Rabbi Schaalman.
When I knocked on my cantor’s office door, she said I looked like I was going to be sick. I was suddenly very scared and nervous of having to read torah and give a d’var in front of him. But him being there meant I got out of leading services. Which I’d been looking forward to, but this was better.
Fast forward to my torah portion, I did okay. I did my three verses and that was it. I just couldn’t go past Sham sam lo hok. Done. Then Rabbi Schaalman mixed up the order and had me give my d’var before the Mi Sheberach, while the Torah was still out of the ark. Gasp!
So I gave it. Before I got up for Torah service I was freaking out. I was the youngest person in the room (other than the 12 year old) and I started to worry that I’d written a sermon for my peers or people younger than me. “Oh shit, what if they hate me telling them to carry a camera every day and take a photo of something beautiful!”
That wasn’t the reaction at all. My d’var was well received and my prescriptive section about how to enjoy the small things in life was as well. Rabbi Schaalman even commented on it to the entire congregation at the end of the service. Wow. Getting complimented by Rabbi Schaalman, pretty awesome.
I’ll write it up tomorrow, but I’m suddenly very sleepy.