Although I am not a lawyer, Mishpatim will always be a favourite and memorable Torah reading for me. This was the parashah of my conversion, my birth-day, if you will, and I hold each specific memory of that time in 1992 as a jewel in my mind.
Judaism is not anarchist by nature; our halachah recognizes our human tendency to chaos and reinforces at every turn order and stability, reliability and recognition, even as it is circumstantially pliable. I am certainly honoured to serve as rabbi of Kolot Mayim, but I am utterly honoured to be counted as a Jew. Thank you to all for your continued welcome.
This week I was able to tell someone what the Hebrew inscription on her great grandfather’s headstone, (in a Jewish cemetery in London, England) read, as she is attempting to piece together the lore of her much rent-apart family. I was able to connect with a young family who ended up staying in Victoria with their daughter unexpectedly born prematurely and still in the NICU. I was able to arrange a meeting between someone who is dying with tremendous grace and equanimity and someone who is still grieving the death of a beloved family member. We live within our relationships, our generations, our capacity to bring order from chaos.
Our laws, the mishpatim of this week, are not old, cold laws – they are about us, about our human relationships, and how we can best lean into those relationships with the benefit of an over- arching structure guiding us. Even as we miss each other’s physical presence we can still connect. Let me know if you would like a visit – over Zoom for now, but soon, God willing, in person.
Love to all,Rabbi Lynn