July always seems to bring one of those very special weeks. This July brings two conversions completed – a few more to come later in the summer, (Mazal tov to Chasida Shai Fudger and Aidan Doduck); we will celebrate a Bat Mitzvah, (Mazal tov to Charlotte Marcovitz and her entire family); and we also celebrate a wedding (mazal tov to Hannah Zalmanowitz and Stuart Higgs).

We are all blessed with these occasions as they tie us, each to the other, with joy, memories and connection. And yet this week has also been a time of sorrow and loss. We send our condolences to Ariel Louwrier on the death of his beloved father. May his memory be a blessing for you, Ariel, and your dear family.

As I think about these occasions, I am aware of all the ways we remember the significance of these transitions in our lives through documents, certificates and, in their time, headstones. I have had occasion this week to help someone identify their father’s Hebrew name (previously unknown) by reading her parents ketubah –their marriage contract. I was also able to correctly read her mother’s Hebrew name which had been carved incorrectly – yes, into stone! Things happen. And then another couple just received their about-to-be-filled-in ketubah in the mail. The circle of life and death is with us.

These documents, so fragile, seemingly impermanent, are incredibly precious and important. I urge all members of Kolot Mayim to hold the stories of these becomings – be they becoming Jewish, or coming of age, or death – as the treasures they really are. I sent someone a d’var from online today to help her through her ongoing grief. There is a lovely turn of phrase within its wisdom, that of our tears being counted and saved in God’s treasury:

“In this week’s parasha, both Miriam and Aaron die and are buried. In Miriam’s case, mourning is usurped by a sudden lack of water in the wilderness community of the Israelites–as though the stemming of tears and the stemming of blessing were interconnected. In Aaron’s case, “All the house of Israel bewailed Aaron thirty days” (Numbers 20:29). Once again, tears become the well waters of the human soul and the currency of our relationship with God: “When we shed tears for a virtuous human being,” says the Talmud (in Tractate Shabbat 105b), “the Holy One counts them and lays them up in [God’s] treasury.” Jeffrey Dekro. See: for the whole d’var.

May all our tears be counted in God’s treasury, our tears of joy, our tears of concern, and yes, our tears of joy.

With love,

Rabbi Lynn