Shabbat Parashat Tazria-Metsora Healing Rituals: Then and Now

Dear Friends,

I think you would agree with me that this year we have all experienced a measure of “isolation,” of social distancing hoisted upon us not of our own choosing, and pain of all sorts. Our lives have been filled with “messiness.” We may feel tired, frustrated, or confused. We are searching for a way “back.”

It is exactly these kinds of feelings that we read about in our double Torah portion of Tazria-Metsora. Whether it is the experience of childbirth, or an illness, or a sense of having failed someone special, or ourselves, whatever the cause, at times, we may feel alienated from one another, or from God, or even from ourselves.

The question the ancients grappled with in our double Torah portion, and the question we too may be grappling with, is: How to come closer to God and/or to one another after we experience a difficult encounter, a “blemish” on our skin…perhaps a “blemish” on our reputation, or on our sense of self? How can we return to a path of healing, of holiness, after we have been aching physically or spiritually?

It seems that, in ancient times, rituals, coupled with human compassion, played a big part in helping our ancestors to heal, to come closer to one another, and to come closer to God. And, if you ask me, the same is true for us today.

We have been aching. Now, let us learn from our holy Torah about the healing power of rituals, and let us help one another re-enter the paths of connection – the paths of healing and of holiness.

At Rodef Sholom Temple, we have never closed our doors. We have responded to life’s messiness by opening new paths in which we can connect to one another and to God through powerful Jewish rituals. Inspired by our holy Torah, we have opened new paths to strengthen one another. We have found ways to validate one another. And, I, for one, give thanks that, in Jewish tradition, our shared human quest for holiness addresses our very human feelings, acknowledges the messiness of life, and lifts us up to a greater sense of purpose, of wholeness and of meaning.

I look forward to seeing you this evening at our combined Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat School service which will feature many of our youngsters connecting with us and with one another as they lead parts of our service!

Join us and you will be uplifted. Join us and you will be proud!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror