Wow, what a week! It’s unbelievable that we are entering into our final Shabbat of 2nd Session and what a session it has been. From a ruach (spirit) filled Maccabiah to raucous song-sessions to competing in our sport majors to building and strengthening new friendships, we couldn’t be more proud of this very special community here at The 6.
At the beginning of the session each camper set an intention for their time here at camp – for some it was “to be open to new experiences and coaching styles” for others it was “to improve in my sport major”. Setting an intention is like taking stock of where you are right now, imagining where you want to be, and planning HOW you want to get there. Now that we are coming to the end of our session, we’ve asked our campers to reflect on those intentions and take stock again to see how far they’ve come.
It’s appropriate, then, that this week’s parsha (Torah portion), Pinchas, includes the account of yet another census of the Israelites. So much has happened during their journey in the desert – there have been many victories and just as many set-backs, we’ve seen leadership challenges and changes.
So why does G-d ask Moses to count everyone again?
Some might say that it’s because the Israelites were about to enter another battle and they needed to take stock of how many fighting-aged men were available to join the military exercise. Here at camp, we have a different perspective:
An intention keeps us present and reminds us why we are doing what we’re doing. So, perhaps the second counting of the Israelites was a way of reflecting on the journey that has brought them so far towards achieving their goal of being a free people in their own land. Setting an intention, or in other words, deciding how you want to go about achieving a goal, is not a one-and-done exercise. Perhaps the second counting was an opportunity for Moses and the Israelites to reflect on how they have conducted themselves thus far, on the journey to the Promised Land.
For our campers, and all athletes, the way in which we conduct ourselves – through teamwork, pride and sportsmanship – will color our journey and very well might change our course in life. You might be the most talented player on your team but if your character is lacking you may fall short of your goal. That is why setting an intention and revisiting it, taking stock again and again of HOW we do what we do is so important.
As we send this incredible group of campers back out into the world, we hope that they will revisit their intentions, refine and perhaps set new ones, and draw on the core values that have guided them this far, to help them in the next leg of their journey towards greatness.
On this Shabbat, may we all remember that success is not a stopping point, it is a stepping stone. May our paths be paved with intention and may we be accompanied by people that help us see the best version of ourselves.