Sometimes the role of rabbi is to name the existential paradox that we encounter in our daily lives.
The joy of the bat mitzvah while the great grandmother awaits burial.
The tangible sense of living amongst blessings even as we await test results.
The Shabbat service full of joy, even as we comfort the mourners amongst us.
Life rarely fits into any uncomplicated, clearly defined set of rules delineating periods of time or emotion.
To the contrary. Life is messy. People are complex. The world turns.
Sometimes the role of the rabbi is to witness the transitions from darkness into light, like the morning dawn.
The daughter who completes her ritual mourning, and begins to resume the welcomed routines of daily existence.
The sigh of relief when the treatments are done, and the margins are clear.
Lifting up the blessing to the Divine each morning that we have a chance to create, and be created, anew.
In this week’s Torah portion, Vayekhel in Exodus, the broken tablets are placed along with the whole tablets in the Ark of the Covenant, even as our ancestors move from wounded slavery towards redemptive healing.
The Talmud (Bava Batra 14b) explains that these two sets of tablets inscribed with the ten commandments were both placed with reverence at the heart of our physical and spiritual society; because… wholeness and brokenness both have a vital place in what makes us human…and in what makes us holy.
One without the other, and we are less.
This is as simple as it is profound.
May we each recognize and honor both sets of tablets that live in the heart of who we are.
They both have something to teach us.
May your Shabbat be meaningful, and full of peace.