Jewish tradition likes to speak of two different types of mitzvot, or commandments. On the one hand there are mishpatim, injunctions that make sense and are rooted in reason. Absent the gift of Torah, individuals and communities hopefully would have figured out that prohibitions against murder and theft are necessary to create a civil society. […]See More
This week, in parsha Shelach, we will read about the mitzvah of titzit. Tzitzit are worn during worship and they offer a tangible reminder of all of the 613 commandments, they stand as an important symbol of who we are supposed to be. Tzitzit serve to remind us that everyone has Torah inside them – either academically, experientially, or spirituality. To keep Judaism alive, each individual has to acknowledge those treasures and generously share them with others. While the roles of rabbis, cantors, and educators are of utmost importance, the true beauty of Torah is that everyone has something to teach, and should view it as a sacred obligation to do so.
This summer, we are saddened that you will not be able to share your Torah with us in person. We will miss the crucial conversations about current events, the debates over halacha and Jewish peoplehood, and the kavanah during tefillah and shirah. We will not be able to share our Torah with each other in person, however, the notion of tzitzit, also reminds us that Judaism is portable. Wherever we go, wherever we might be, our values and our practices can inform our lives and the lives of others.
During these summer months, when we are not physically together, we implore you to continue to share your Torah. Remember the magic of camp, and do what you can to bring it into your own home. Torah represents a practice towards living that can accompany us wherever we might be found: recite a blessing upon perfecting a new skill; reach out to an old friend; remember the importance our camp middot (values) play in our everyday lives.
Every time our hands brush by those tzitzit, we’re reminded that it is a collective job to educate and share our own insights and that Jewish identity is portable – able to be invoked to enhance life no matter where we are.