Parashat Beha’alotecha: Mind your words

Wherever we go in today’s society, we are bombarded by ads about what we should and should not be putting in our mouths. The ads tells us to eat this so that we can lose weight; to not eat that because it could raise our cholesterol; and we constantly hear promises of how ingesting a certain product will make us strong, beautiful, and healthy. But what about what comes out of our mouths?

If our tradition teaches us anything, it is the power of words — for good or evil, pain or joy. In this week’s portion Miriam is stricken with tzara‘at, a type of skin infliction that is similar to leprosy. The
rabbis are clear as to why: she slandered Moses by both insulting his wife, and then claiming that God speaks with her as well. As a result of what comes out of her mouth, she is stricken with disease and quarantined outside the camp; and only the prayerful words of her brother
Moses lead to her healing. “Please God, heal her now.” (Num. 12:13)

There is a vital teaching here that we need to remember at all times. When we speak ill of another person, we are creating a disease that affects the entire community. Like a disease that is easily passed from one to another, those words can become epidemic, a matrix for marginalisation and racism. Like tzara‘at; rumors, gossip, and slander change the way that we perceive someone at such a basic level that the entire community becomes contaminated.

Lashon Hara”, the “evil tongue”, hurts everyone, and therefore I applaud the SAUPJ for their initiative to counter racism in our own language and environment (see below).

Don’t let racism be our Judaism
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Adrian M Schell
(Source: Rabbi Michael Barclay )

Anti Racism Initiative of the SAUPJ

The SAUPJ, together with the SAJBD, is starting an initiative to stamp out racism in the Jewish community.   Starting in the home, among family and friends, we can stand up to those whose Yiddish vocabulary is limited to Shoch and Shwartze.   These derogatory terms cause great hurt – whilst we expect people to address us and talk about us in a respectful way so should we realise that referring to blacks in that way should be buried in the past.  I urge you to point out to anyone using those words that they are unnecessary and undignified.

Don’t let racism be our Judaism.

 Monica Solomon
National Chair, SAUPJ

 

 

A healing prayer for when a loved one is suffering

In last week’s Torah portion Miriam and Aaron talk about the „Cushite woman“ whom Moses has married. In addition, they complain that God speaks not only through Moses but also through them. As a result, Miriam is struck with tzara’at, often translated as leprosy. In an interesting twist of the story, Moses shows a deep love for his sister and begs God to heal her. Tradition understands this short intervention as the foundation for  our healing prayers we say when someone we love is sick.  Below are two texts we often use in the service, but can be used by everyone, at anytime:

Mi Shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu, Avraham, Yitzchak v’Yaakov, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel v’Lei-ah, hu y’vareich et hacholim [names]. HaKadosh Baruch Hu yimalei
rachamim aleihem, l’hachalimam ul’rapotam ul’hachazikam, v’yishlach lahem m’heirah r’fuah, r’fuah shleimah min hashamayim, r’fuat hanefesh ur’fuat haguf, hashta baagala uviz’man kariv. V’nomar: Amen.

May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless and heal those who are ill [names]. May the Blessed Holy One be filled with compassion for their health to be restored and their strength to be revived. May God swiftly send them a complete renewal of body and spirit, and let us say, Amen.

(A musical version can be found here: https://youtu.be/2og0YFpzdhA)

The following Mi Sheberach prayer and song was written by Debbie Friedman:

Mi shebeirach avoteinu
M’kor hab’racha l’imoteinu
May the source of strength,
Who blessed the ones before us,
Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing,
and let us say, Amen.
Mi shebeirach imoteinu
M’kor habrachah l’avoteinu
Bless those in need of healing with r’fuah sh’leimah,
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,
And let us say, Amen

(A musical version can be found here: https://youtu.be/uxAw8Z-3qOc)

Wishing you a blessed Shabbat and a good health.

Rabbi Adrian M Schell

(Source Mishkan Tefila Page 371)

 

Так было всегда: облако покрывало ее днем, а по ночам оно походило на огонь.

Многие из вас, наверное, помнят, как они в детстве получили в подарок велосипед. Я тоже это хорошо помню. Вместе с велосипедом я получил некую независимость. Я вспоминаю, как много лет я ездил на велосипеде к моим друзьям и любовался окружающим меня миром. Учиться езде на велосипеде было не так просто и опыт пришел по истечению нескольких лет. Сегодня я понимаю, что это было сложно не только для меня, но и моим родителям было тоже сложно научить меня кататься. Я хорошо помню, как они бежали рядом со мной, держали меня и помогали, чтобы я, не дай Бог, не упал. А потом наступил момент, когда они почувствовали, что я катаюсь более уверенно и они отпустили меня ездить самому. Чтобы ребенок мог научиться кататься на велосипеде, родители должны отпустить своего ребенка, даже если он будет падать. Должен наступить такой момент, когда родители должны отпустить ребенка и не вмешиваться. Сегодня я хорошо могу себе представить, как нелегко родителям это сделать. Я вспоминаю еще сегодня, каким я был гордым, когда катался самостоятельно, но, сдругой стороны, мне нехватало моих родителей, которые бежали рядом. Mehr lesen