Off the Pulpit: Beautiful Beams
By RABBI DAVID WOLPE
When we see a beautiful building, we don’t see the girders that shape it underneath. They are not considered picturesque. When we see a beautiful person, we do not see the bones. The skeleton is not considered lovely. As Jean Kerr wrote, “People say that beauty is only skin deep. What do you want – an adorable pancreas?”
Yet the scaffolding of life is essential. There is no outer beauty without the structure to support it. This is true in religious life as well. People may respond to the majesty of the prayers but think committee meetings and building maintenance and volunteer work are drudgery, far removed from the exalted sphere of spiritual uplift. Yet they are the structural beams that hold up the synagogue. The committee meeting may be arduous and overlong, but what do you want – an adorable pancreas?
Here is to all those who do the work. Not those who stand on the bimah speaking or singing, but who cook in the kitchen, who sweep the floors and put out the flyers and fix the zoom, who calculate the dues and type up the letters and put out the kiddush and serve the food. You are the backbone. To those who really look, you are indeed beautiful.
(Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.)