Celebrating a Decade of Growth – President Rob Birenbaum’s Speech

10 Years of Service

            Good Shabbos!!  Thank you to Rabbi Moshe Shur and Cantor Yaakov Motzen for leading us in beautiful services this morning.  And thank you to our gabbaim and Jay Bernstein and Rabbi Motzen for leining the parsha and haftorah.  I would also like to recognize Rabbi Binyamin Marwick of Shomrei Emunah, who will be delivering some Divrei Torah following my address as well as recognize the volunteer leadership of our shul, past and present.  In your programs you may have noticed the names of our former presidents and chairs who received honors during the Torah service, but I would be remiss if I did not also equally recognize Gabby Burger, a former chair of the Board of Directors who is here today. 

I wanted to welcome you all here for a very special Shabbos in which we celebrate the Motzens on their ten year anniversary at the helm of the Ner Tamid Congregation.  Can you believe it – 10 years since we welcomed the Motzens into the Ner Tamid family.  And, while Ner Tamid is a very loving and beautiful family, it is also likely the most difficult family in Baltimore in which to serve as Rabbi and Rebbetzin.  Notwithstanding the difficulty of the gig, the Motzens chose us and we, in turn, chose them.  And, I am proud to say, what a wonderful marriage it has been.

As President of the Congregation a/k/a “the guy who sits next to the Rabbi”, I have had a front row seat to observing the challenges and responsibilities that the Motzens undertook.  Being a pulpit Rabbi is hard, but in this special place, it’s a whole different madreyga.  The Motzens have embraced the diversity of our shul and with incredible alacrity, sensitivity, dedication to inclusivity, and sheer talent, they have strengthened the bonds of our kehilla in all of its wonderful flavors. 

Early on in the Motzens’ tenure, Ner Tamid was branded as “Something for Everyone.”  We truly are.  We are made up of Jews from every walk of life.  We are a big tent.  Observant, secular, and somewhere in between.  Young and old.  Those with means and those who are struggling.  Jews from birth and those who have made the choice to become Jewish.  Liberal and conservative.  Vegetarians and meat eaters.  You get the point.  And, the Motzens, to their incredible credit, respect the vast diversity that exists within our shul and have chosen to live up to and embrace the “Something for Everyone” motto.  It’s a tall challenge, but it was successfully met by them with incredible aplomb.  They were and are the perfect captains for our ship.  It would have been far easier to stake out a clear path and build-up a membership base of homogeneous thought, practice and ideology.  But, the Motzens truly joined our unique family and have been able to successfully serve all of its members.

Orthodoxy in a modern and ever-changing world presents difficult challenges; however, the Motzens do not shy away from the challenge of making Judaism accessible and relevant to every person in this room.  Whether it is the beautiful and inspiring sermons on Shabbos and Yom Tov that captivate us all in making ancient text relatable to the circumstances of today; or, whether it is the many classes offered by the Rabbi including the Semichas Chaver Program; or, whether it is the special programming for women such as the Rebbetzin’s tehillim group, the Divrei Torah offered for women and by women on Simchas Torah, and the Rabbi’s weekly halacha classes for women; or, whether it is the excellent youth programming that provides Jewish instruction to our children that affords the opportunity for all parents to attend services; or, whether it is the social events and programs that cater to all age groups and between our various generations.  It is plainly clear to all that our Rabbi and Rebbetzin have created many unique opportunities for our members to participate in all facets of Jewish life and grow as Jews and as human beings.

The Motzens have been instrumental and phenomenal in facilitating connections; helping to bridge differences between groups of people.  The “Ner Tamid meets Ner Tamid” programs spearheaded by the Motzens were wildly successful and fun; illustrating the shared commonalities of those who make up our kehilla across the age spectrum.  It really is only in this community that I have experienced real friendships with members of the greatest generation, baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials; and, I know that we owe that in large part to the tireless efforts of the Motzens (and, now don’t tell the Rabbi, but perhaps to a lesser extent the  Kiddush Club).   

Growth is a key theme of our last ten years with the Motzens. Under their tenure we have dramatically increased our young family membership, the lifeblood and future of our shul. Walk down the hallway of the school wing and you will see that on every Shabbos and Yom Tov our youth groups are teaming with dozens of children who are excited to come to shul. Beyond numbers growth, the Motzens encourage and support the personal growth of every member.

While the Motzens have helped Ner Tamid grow, we have, in turn, watched them grow as well.  The Rabbi was just a boychick when he got here and look at him now!  The beard has really come in quite nicely.  We have watched their beautiful family grow over these years and shared in their simchas as a family.  In short, upon arrival, the Rabbi and Rebbetzin learned what our community needed and tailored their leadership to who was here already while also seeking to broaden the appeal of our wonderful shul to those who had yet to find a spiritual home.  With incredible wisdom beyond their years, the Motzens demonstrated great patience and respect for the kehilla that preceded their arrival, seeking to understand the Ner Tamid Congregation and what made it tick before suggesting changes to reinvigorate our shul and its place in the Baltimore Jewish Community, thus allowing the shul’s growth and change to be organic rather than a forced exercise.

On this Shabbos, we celebrate ourselves and our growth with the Motzens.  We deserve it and the Motzens deserve the recognition and credit for what has been achieved over the last decade.  So, following this ceremony, everybody is invited to celebrate in our Social Hall with a magnificent kiddush that has been catered by Simcha Gross and O’Fishel’s Kosher Catering Company.  And, may our excitement and celebration today carry into tomorrow for what I am confident will be a very successful campaign for the shul!!

Before I turn the program over to Rabbi Marwick, I wanted to express our collective gratitude to the Motzen family and how giving and selfless they have been for our community these last ten years.  Adam Klaff, the shul’s previous Chair of ten years, told our Congregation that he regarded his greatest accomplishment as Chair was extending the Rabbi’s contract for an additional ten years.  Here’s to the next ten years, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Motzen!!  Mazel Tov!!    





Celebrating 10 Years of Growth – Chairman Pini Zimmerman’s Speech

I feel incredibly fortunate to have regular, meaningful conversations with both the Rabbi and Rebbitzen. The frequency of our conversations sometimes surpasses the amount of time I spend speaking with my wife. But these opportunities to engage with the Rabbi and Rebbitzen on a daily basis, and sometimes even multiple times a day, is a true privilege. FYI speaking with the Rabbi daily is just one of the many perks that come with being the chairperson. 

Being involved in the leadership of our shul has shown me how much the Rabbi and Rebitzen do behind the scenes. This role has provided me with a profound appreciation for the immense energy and dedication they pour into our shared spiritual home we call Ner Tamid. Witnessing their commitment firsthand has deepened my appreciation and understanding of the incredible work they do and how much they are giving of themselves. 

In the weeks leading up to campaign day, I have been reaching out to former Chairpersons, shul members, and community members to gather matchers in support of Ner Tamid and this campaign. As I explain the purpose of my call, I can sense the genuine happiness in the voices of those on the other end. They eagerly share stories about how the Rebbetzin has personally helped them navigate challenging issues or served as their trusted resource for matters of marital purity. Some of these individuals I spoke with don’t attend our shul but call on the Rebbetzin in times of need and by the way, thank you for the $1000 donation.

The Rebbetzin has become a force and address for many women’s issues in our community. The Rebbitzen is the go-to on child abuse prevention, leading the charge across the community providing education and resources from Beth El to the Chassidish Stiebel. These conversations with many members of our community have truly opened my eyes to the extensive role the Rebbetzin plays and the multitude of ways she supports our shul and the broader Baltimore community. Her efforts are discreet, known only to those who need to know, the Rebbetzin delicately handles sensitive matters while preserving people’s dignity and modesty.

In recent months, the Rebbitzen has taken on an additional responsibility as the interim youth director. Witnessing the profound impact she has on the children of our shul has been inspiring. Her presence brings palpable joy that resonates throughout the halls. I am particularly looking forward to future youth events. I’ve even heard that the Rebbitzen enjoys snowboarding in her spare time!

Rabbi, when you initially asked me if I would consider being the president of the shul, I had my reservations. My wife was seven months pregnant, COVID was rampant, and the shul was partially closed, the montessori was fully closed. It was a time of uncertainty. I pondered the decision for a few days, discussed it with my wife, and eventually said yes. Looking back, I’m grateful that I took on the role. As my term as president progressed and things began to stabilize, you and Adam approached me again, asking if I would be interested in becoming the chairperson. I deliberated for a few more days, but eventually, I said yes once again.

However, I couldn’t help but wonder why you specifically wanted me to be the chairman of the shul. Last week, it finally dawned on me. You have been planning this event for the past ten years, and the thought of having a chairperson who is older than you after being here for a decade didn’t sit well with you. So, here we are.

As I continued to speak with individuals around the campaign, Making these calls made me realize that many of these individuals may not regularly attend Ner Tamid, and some of them have never set foot in our building. Yet, when I spoke to them, I could hear the impact you have had on their lives. Rabbi your influence extends far beyond the walls of our shul. 

Wishing you, Rabbi and Rebbitzen and the entire Ner Tamid community another decade of growth!

Celebrating 10 Years of Growth – Rebbetzin Motzen’s Speech

I’d like to begin by thanking my husband, without whom I would not be here…Literally, there is no way in the world I would ever have agreed to do THIS if not for him, so Thank you honey 😉

But I guess once every 10 years I can handle getting up here. 10 years, wow! We know that 10 is a very significant number in Judaism, it’s said that G-d created the world with 10 utterances, B’asarah Maamaros Nivrah Ha’Olam. With each of those 10 sayings, a new layer of nature was created and in doing so the presence of Hashem became more and more concealed in this world. The Chidushei Harim, the chassidic Rebbe of Ger, explains that when the Jewish People were redeemed through the 10 plagues and accepted the 10 commandments, G-d’s presence re-revealed into the world.

I believe that this is emblematic of what we have been doing together these past 10 years. 10 years of growth. We have been growing together, not just in numbers but in who we are, and in doing so we have brought more G-dliness into this world. Together, we have increased our Torah Learning, we have enhanced our mitzvah observance, and become a place where every kind of Jew feels comfortable and cared for. Our acceptance of Ol malchus shamayim over these years that has re-revealed more of Hashem’s presence in this world.

On a more personal note, being in a position like this has propelled me to strive to be the very best version of myself. Being here has been a guiding light, a personal Ner Tamid, shining a light on my Avodas Hashem on pushing me to grow. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to grow alongside all of you.

I would like to conclude, by thanking all of you. Thank you for the privilege of journeying through life with you these past 10 years. We have cried together and we have laughed together, we have mourned together and we have celebrated together, but I think most importantly we’ve grown together. My Bracha  to all of us, is that the next 10 years bring us to even greater heights in our spirituality, personal growth, and ultimately in bringing more G-dlinees into this world. 


Celebrating 10 Years of Growth – Rabbi Motzen’s Speech

She’hechiyanu, v’kiyimanu v’higiyanu lazmana hazeh.

I’d like to spend the next few moments saying thank you to many, but first and foremost to Hashem. Even ma’asu habonim haysah l’rosh pinah. Thank you Hashem, for lifting me up, for giving me the strength, and for bringing me and all of us to this day.

Thank you to our parents for your ongoing and incredible support; for putting us on this path, and for giving us a model to strive for.

To our children, Tehila, Shlomo, Shira, Riki, and Miri – it’s not always easy being the “rabbi’s children.” We are grateful to you for filling this role with poise and patience. Just because we are the last people to leave shul does not mean you’re not the most important people in our lives.  

There are many mentors, representing a variety of institutions, who could not be here today for a host of reasons, but I’d be remiss if I did not mention them on this day; Rav Eliezer Breitowitz of Darchei Torah, Rav Blachman of Kerem B’Yavneh, Rav Yossi Elefant of the Mirrer Yeshiva, Rav Tzvi Berkowitz and Rav Ezra Neuberger of Ner Yisroel, and Rav Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union. Having role models and people to discuss the big issues in life has ensured that I have never become complacent, seeing in them the heights towards which I need to strive.

I want to thank our rabbi emeritus, Rabbi Landau, who also cannot be here today. The bracha I give to any rabbi taking over a shul with a rabbi emeritus is that their rabbi emeritus should be even half as menschlich, as classy, as kind, as Rabbi Landau has been to me.

I want to thank all of you, friends and family from near and far for joining us today for this celebration. It’s truly touching to see you all here.

On behalf of Shomrei Emunah, thank you Rabbi Marwick for keeping your drasha short this week so you could make it over here on time. Thank you for being a true friend and for honoring us with your presence.

Three people need to be mentioned who worked tirelessly to put this Shabbos together – Adina Burstyn, Rob Birenbaum, and Pini Zimmerman.

I want to share with you a story that I shared with you ten years ago. I meant it then, but I really really mean it now. It’s a story of a mayor walking through his town with his wife. The two of them walk by a construction site, and the mayor’s wife stops to speak to one of the workers. After a nice little chat, they walk on. The mayor quizzically turns to his wife; “Who was that?” And she says, “Oh, he was someone I dated before you.”

The mayor smiles, “Ha. Aren’t you happy you married me? If I hadn’t come along, today, you’d be married to a construction worker.”

To which she replied. “Not exactly. If I had married him, he would now be the mayor.”

Rabbi Akiva’s words of sheli v’shelachem shelah fall pathetically short… Thank you Hindy for being my rock, my light, and my partner in everything we are celebrating today.   


The Gemara tells us of a man who lived approximately 2300 years ago while the Temple still stood in Yerushalayim. His mother really, really, wanted him to be a Kohein Gadol, the High Priest. The only problem was that he was completely unqualified. He wasn’t knowledgeable in Torah at all. He wasn’t even a baal middos, a man of good character.

But she was determined, so you know what she did? She paid a tremendous bribe and got him the job. (You may have heard of her. She used to play Rebecca Donaldson on Full House…) Her name was Marta ben Baisus. And his name, this ignoramus, the uncouth man who became the high Priest, his name was Yehoshua ben Gamla. Remember that name.

There is another Talmudic passage in Bava Basra that says there was a time when parents weren’t teaching their children Torah and the Torah was almost forgotten entirely. Imagine that! Until one man came along who found teachers, created the first Jewish school system, taught all the Jewish children, and thanks to his creative and bold vision, the Torah was not forgotten. Guess what his name was?

Yehoshua ben Gamla.

Now, there are those who say there were two Yehoshua ben Gamlas. One was a great scholar and teacher, and one was completely ignorant. But the Sefas Emes suggests that there was really only one. And he knew nothing at all. To the point that his mother had to bribe his way into the priesthood. But you know what happened? When he was appointed Kohein Gadol, he was treated like a High Priest. People would ask him questions, people would look up to him, and that changed the way he thought of himself. He started studying, he started practicing, he started growing, and eventually he became this great man who saved all of Jewry. Ilmalei hu, without him, nishtakach Torah miYisrael, the Torah would have been completely forgotten. But, the Sefas Emes points out, without the people who looked up to him there would be no Rav Yehoshua ben Gamla.

Ten years ago, this congregation took a tremendous risk. A young guy, a really young guy, with virtually no experience, was voted in as rabbi. You gave me respect I did not yet earn, you supported me, and you believed in me. Yes, today, we are celebrating what Hindy and I have accomplished over these ten years. But trust me when I tell you, without your constant and unwavering support, without your belief in us, there would be no accomplishments to celebrate. So thank you! Thank you to the leadership … and thank you to every member of our shul, every member of this community, for taking someone who was barely qualified for this job and giving me the wings, the confidence, and support to accomplish all that we have done.


Commemorations are valuable insofar as they propel us forward. It’s not enough to pat ourselves on the back. Let’s take a moment to focus on the future.

Ten years ago, I stood up here and shared a vision for the shul. Truthfully, I didn’t really know you yet. I knew your names, but I didn’t really know who I was speaking to. As Hindy beautifully put it, over these ten years, we have grown a lot together. We have laughed together, we’ve shed a lot of tears together, we’ve struggled and triumphed together. Now, I feel like I do know you and I am humbled. Because I now know that I am standing before an incomparable group of people. Truly. The amount of major life changes that sits in this room; to have a kehillah of people who collectively have made such difficult and life-altering choices is unparalleled and humbling. The inner strength that sits in this room: the amount of people who have climbed their own Mt. Everest, not once but over and over and over again is unparalleled and humbling. The acceptance, the radical acceptance, the kindness and non-judgmentalism that is exhibited in this room day in and day out is unparalleled and humbling. The refreshing vulnerability and honesty that is on display in this room is unparalleled and humbling. I now know who I am talking to, and I am truly humbled to serve you as your rabbi.

So what’s our vision? What will our next ten years look like?

It goes without saying, there will be more Torah, more Tefilah, more chesed, more Mitzvos, more Eretz Yisrael, more personal growth. But it’s not just more. Not for a kehillah like this one.  

There will be more Torah, but not just any Torah. Torah that is a Toras Chayim, we will continue to allow the light of Torah to shine everywhere, on every topic. We will continue to boldly question and grapple and grow. We will continue to be unafraid of where those questions may lead us. We will continue to ensure that Torah is accessible to all, of all backgrounds, men and women alike, and continue to search for our personal connection to Torah.

There will be more Tefilah, but not just any Tefilah. Tefilah that is vulnerable and experimental. We will continue to seek out ways to get past the mechanics of prayer and focus on G-d, on connecting ourselves emotionally and genuinely to our Father in Heaven.

There will be more chesed and kindness. We have set the bar on being an exceptionally accepting shul of people of all walks of life and we will continue to raise that bar over and over again.

This shul has a storied past. Over these ten years we have added fuel to our Ner Tamid, ensuring that it shines far beyond these four walls, through social media, through the community, through the world at large, and we will not lose sight of that role we play, individually and collectively.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, it has been a great ten years, a growth-filled ten years, a memorable ten years. But let me tell you, with G-d’s help, we are just getting started.


The Boundary of Boundaries Shavuos Yizkor

3,325 years ago, our ancestors gathered around a modest-sized mountain to receive a set of laws that would change them and the world forever. Thanks to our tradition, we know not only what was taught at Mt. Sinai, we have a sense of what this momentous scene looked like. The mountain was small. The mountain miraculously sprouted flowers. There was thunder, there was lightning. According to the Talmud, G-d dislodged and lifted the mountain over the Jewish People’s heads. All of this is well-known. But there’s one detail which I think we all miss when we imagine what the giving of the Torah looked like. And it’s not just a detail.

In His instructions to Moshe three days before the giving of the Torah, G-d demands that boundaries, or a fence, is to be built around the mountain. “V’higbal’ta et ha’am saviv/ and create boundaries for the nation around [the mountain].” On the day of the giving of the Torah, G-d reiterates, ‘Warn the people not to overstep those boundaries!’ Moshe pushes back, “Lo yuchal ha’am la’ah’lot” They won’t go up the mountain, I told them not to. But G-d doubles down: Remind them. Do not cross the boundaries.  

Clearly, those boundaries were not just a security fence to prevent crazy fans from storming the stage, they were a fundamental feature in the giving of the Torah. They symbolized a core value of Judaism; Havadallah, separation – the ability to distinguish between one idea and another, and the ability to differentiate between one person and another. For us to live in this complicated world, we need to know where holiness ends and the mundane begins, where good ends and bad begins, and perhaps more importantly, we need to know where I end and you begin. There needs to be boundaries between each person and the next.

A life without boundaries, in which if you want something from me or I want something from you and you and I are unable or unwilling to say no, that’s a life that will quickly fall apart. People who do not have personal boundaries burn out, feel overwhelmed, and at times feel like they don’t really know who they are because everything they’re doing is for someone else. V’higbal’ta et ha’am saviv. Create boundaries, G-d says, so you can live a life of values, your life, your values.

Last summer, I wrote a short Facebook post which I want to share with you this morning. The background to the piece is as follows: I grew up on stories of strangers showing up in a town looking for a place to eat. Usually, these strangers were dirty and rude and exceptionally difficult. And usually, as the story goes, no one wanted to take them in. The upshot of these stories would always be that this stranger was really Elijah the prophet, or the father of the Chassidic movement, the Baal Shem Tov, or even Mashiach. Had the people of the town just invited him in, the Messianic era would have arrived. Those are the stories I remember being moved by as a child.

As I got older, those stories became more difficult to live up to. One particular weekend this summer, I was feeling quite tired. I was low on emotional energy, and because of that, there were a number of times over that weekend, I felt I had to say no. I felt guilty saying no, but eventually I put my guilt to rest, and I wrote as follows:

“If Mashiach does not come this week, it’s likely my fault…

The Baal Shem Tov called me Erev Shabbos asking to join us for a meal. I hadn’t spent a Shabbos meal with two of my children for a month and the “Baal Shem Tov” needs a lot of attention, so I said no. 

Eliyahu Hanavi came knocking on my door on Shabbos afternoon. I really needed some sleep, we were hosting a big shalosh seudos and ‘Eliyahu’ is not always an easy guest, so I turned over and went back to bed.

Mashiach himself called Motzei Shabbos. He was going through a hard time and needed to vent. I was exhausted after Shabbos, so I let the call go to voicemail. I’ll call him back on Monday.”

I continued the post with a rationalization:

“We’ve been knocking on G-d’s door for quite some time now. I’m not sure what His excuse is, but He keeps on saying no. And that’s clearly okay. It doesn’t mean He does not love us and care. Only that now is not the time.

I believe be’emunah sheleima, with perfect faith, that He will eventually open that door and let us in. But for now, He’s playing the long game. And He’s giving us permission to do the same.”

I was very proud of this piece. (Clearly, I just shared it with you.) I was proud because boundaries are clearly fundamental to Judaism. V’higbal’ta et ha’am saviv. And I felt like that boundaries don’t get enough attention.

But with time I came to regret writing it.

Because you see, in addition to the regular Torah reading we read that highlighted the need for boundaries, we also read the Book of Ruth. The book of Ruth begins with a man named Elimelech, a wealthy man, a leader. But there’s a famine in the land and he is feeling overwhelmed by the line of people knocking on his door. They need guidance, they need money, they need his attention. And at some point, he decides he needs to set up boundaries to protect himself. He packs his belongings, and he and his family move away from Israel. If he had a therapist, she would likely be proud of him – you need to have a sense of self. So he creates a new life in a place where he is not called upon to help others, he creates a new life with healthy boundaries. It’s a place that has a motto endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, “Mah sheli, sheli, mah shelach shelach. What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours.” Only that the boundaries that he and his sons create are so good, are so impervious, that he and his sons whither away and die.

The turning point of the story is when Ruth, Elimelech’s daughter-in-law rises above those boundaries, when she literally crosses a boundary, the border between her comfortable home country and the foreign land of Israel, when she gives up her own future to care for someone else. In the final chapter of the book, Ruth, the protagonist of the story, and Naomi, the woman she is caring for, their identities start to bleed into the other, to the point that Naomi is described as the mother of Ruth’s child and at times, it’s not clear from the text who is talking and who is who (see the k’ri and k’siv’s). It’s a boundary-less world. And it’s in that boundary-less world that the people are redeemed, that blessings are restored to the nation, and in which King David, the savior of Israel, and grandson of Ruth, is ultimately born.

To be clear, boundaries are important. Every negative prohibition in the Torah is effectively a boundary. “Thou shall not,” is the Torah’s way of saying step back, don’t do. And there are more negative prohibitions, or boundaries, in the Torah than there are positive commandments.

And yet, in the odd circumstance that the two conflict with one another, when the only way to fulfil a positive commandment would be to violate a prohibition, we are taught, asei docheh lo sa’aseh. The positive, the breaking free, the overcoming limitations, supersedes the boundary-making prohibition. As the Ramban beautifully explains, a positive Mitzvah is an act of love, a negative prohibition is an act of awe, or stepping back, and love, the act of breaking free from our constraints is more important and therefore more powerful than creating a boundary.

If we could read the thoughts of the people in this room while Yizkor is recited, the positive memories that will be conjured are not when a spouse said no, or a parent said, enough, or a friend said, not now. The memories that inspire us to cry and to miss and to yearn are memories of when our loved ones went the extra mile, memories of the times they really didn’t have the time but made the time, memories of the times they broke free from what was expected of them.

I’ve been to too many funerals in my life, and I’ve heard too many eulogies. At none of them did anyone ever get up and say, “She was so special. She had incredible boundaries.”

To be clear and to reiterate, boundaries are important for our survival. We cannot be a shmattah if we want to accomplish anything in this life. We do need to say no. We do need to let some calls go to voicemail – even if it is a loved one calling. We do need to take time for ourselves. But if we all have is boundaries, if we all we do is say no, then we have nothing at all.

Ruth teaches us that Mashiach is indeed knocking our door. She’s pulling on our sleeve, begging us for attention. She’s off to the side at kiddush, trying to figure out how to start up a conversation. She’s sorry but doesn’t know how to apologize and is hoping we could help her by taking the first step. She’s sitting across the table from us at home, just hoping we could put our phone down and give her some much-needed attention. The world as we know it began when G-d told Moshe to set up boundaries, but Mashiach, the redeemed world, will only come when we break our boundaries down.

So if I could ask you on this Shavuos during which we commemorate the need for boundaries and the recognition of their limitations, on this Yizkor morning during which so many of us recall our loved ones and all of us are reminded that one day we too will be recalled,

Will we be remembered as cliquish or friendly with all?  

Will we be remembered as being stingy or as being generous, with our time, resources, and energy?

Will we be remembered as one who forever held onto grievances – a boundary too many of us hide behind, or as one who would always seek to forget and to forgive?

Will we be remembered for never being available to our family, friends, and community, or for creating time, or just being more honest, that there is always more time for what’s really important?

Simply put, will we be remembered for constantly extending ourselves or will we be forgotten behind our boundaries?