Torah Tidbits


Tidbits of Torah

Shabbat Parashat Tazria – Metsora

April 13, 2013 – 3 Iyyar 5773

Dear Friends,

This coming week we will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day.  The actual day this holiday will be celebrated in Israel is on Monday night and on Tuesday but we will hold a special 20 minute ceremony here at RST on Sunday, April 14th at 11:40 am.  I hope you will participate.  The ceremony promises to be short, yet meaningful and moving.

As we read this week’s double Torah portion of Tazria and Metsora, we are reminded of situations in which we might feel less connected to community.  It might be when we are ill, or if we have just recently become a new parent.  Whatever the cause, there are times in our lives when we may feel alone and distanced from others.

The Torah’s response is to set various purification rituals which mark an individual’s return to a more connected communal place – to a place where we may experience heightened holiness through connection with God and with community.  In offering us purification rituals as a model for dealing with liminal situations, the Torah teaches us to recognize that there is a spiritual element to feelings of isolation or of alienation that we may experience at those times in our lives.  It teaches us that we can play an important part in making people feel more included in our holy endeavors and in our communities.  It is this kind of spiritual effort to be more inclusive that enables folks to see our communities as the warm and safe environment that we would want them to be.

Interestingly, one of the most powerful messages of the State of Israel is the message that a Jewish and democratic State has the potential to give people a greater sense of  inclusion,  a sense of safety, and a sense of being “at home”, along with a deep and abiding sense of  history and of holiness.

May we be blessed to celebrate this 65th birthday of the State of Israel, and many, many more birthdays in the years to come – in peace, in joy and in hope of good things yet to come.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror

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