Shabbat Parashat Ki Tissa Shabbat Parah Social Distancing and Torah!

Dear Friends,

In light of our current situation which includes recommendations of “social distancing”, I share with you a wonderful reading by Rabbi Yosef Kanevsky:

“Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place.
Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.
Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to know we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.”

Yes, we can have an aliyah to the Torah without kissing the Torah. Yes, we can have services without handshaking. Yes, we can adjust some of our customs to preserve our health and the health of those around us!

Our Torah portion of Ki Tissa begins with the census which was to be accomplished by counting the donations of a half shekel contributed by each person in the Israelite camp.

Why a half shekel?

Our Sages suggest that the half shekel is symbolic of the fact that we all play a part in the welfare of our people as a whole. Each one of us is a proverbial “half shekel.” All of us are needed and each one of us can help. But, none of us are entirely “whole” without the others. Each one of us is a “half shekel.” We are all dependent upon one another to create holy space, holiness in time, and wholeness of spirit!

Even as we practice elements of “social distancing,” may we find the way to wholeness and to holiness in community through our constructive relationships with those around us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror