Tidbits of Torah

Losses that Deplete Us; Friendships that Sustain Us headshot white 2015cropped

Shabbat Parashat Chukat

July 16, 2016 – 10 Tammuz 5776

Dear Friends,

Moses, the greatest prophet that ever was, the greatest prophet that will ever be, was only human. That is the greatness of our Torah. It describes our ancestors, even our prophets, as human beings.

In our weekly Torah portion of Chukat, we read of the death of Miriam – Moses’ older sister. Despite their differences, Moses loved Miriam. His relationship with Miriam sustained him. And so, right after Miriam passed away, Moses basically fell apart. It was not long after Miriam’s passing that Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock. It was shortly after her passing that he lost his cool in the face of the Israelites relentless complaining.

As we read this story, we may identify with Moses. We may identify with his need for the support of his sister, and with his grief at her passing. We may identify with his anger at the people when they complained to him about the lack of water, soon after Miriam’s death.

But, most importantly, as we read the story, we may recognize our own vulnerabilities as we read of Moses’ vulnerability. And, we may identify our own sources of support and of comfort, as we see Moses’ grappling with the fact that Miriam had meant so much to him from the time he was a baby, despite their occasional differences; and, that Miriam continued to be important to him even as he became an adult, a leader, a prophet, and a teacher to our people.

The greatness of Torah is that it speaks to us through the lens of the ages, yet provides us with wisdom and insight into our daily lives. It helps us to recognize our human vulnerabilities; it speaks to our ability to pull ourselves up once again after we have experienced loss; and, it reminds us of the supremely important power of loyalty and of friendships to sustain us and to bring great blessing and joy into our lives.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror