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Important, hard work of creating caring community

04/04/2019 10:39:01 AM


Kim Bodemer

 This week’s Torah portion, Tazria, explores the ancient paradigm of what it means to be tamei and tahor – impure and pure. Our text goes into great detail about what to do when we suffer from a skin disease – including how long we must be separated from the community and ritual purification before we can return.
Connecting this week’s parasha to today, I see a link between illness and isolation. In the Torah, the priests tell the person who is ill that he or she must be separated for a period of time and must be ritually purified before returning. Today, sometimes a healthcare provider might order a person to be physically separated from others to stop the spread of a communicable disease, but often, the isolation people feel has nothing to do with a doctor’s orders. Sometimes it is self-imposed – feeling despondent over a change in health status. Sometimes the isolation comes from members of the community who are unsure of how to welcome people in; unsure of what to say or how to act around the person who is ill.
The parasha teaches that we need to have a process to care for those who are ill and to open the community to them when they are ready.
Our Caring Community does an amazing job with this. They work tirelessly to ensure that none of our members feel isolated and alone. They arrange meals, rides, cards, calls and much more to members of our community who might otherwise feel disconnected. They have worked with students in SHACHARIT (K-5) and in MINCHA (6-7) to engage them in the work of caring for members of our community through Bikkur Holim, visiting the sick. “Rabbi Abba, son of Rabbi Hanina, taught: The one who visits a sick person, takes away 1/60 of that person’s pain.” (Babylonian Talmud, Nedarim 39b). How wonderful that we have the opportunity to do this important work, even when it’s hard.
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Kim Bodemer is the Temple’s Senior Director of Education and Youth Engagement.

Sun, November 17 2019 19 Cheshvan 5780