Adrian A. Durlester

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Random Musings Before Shabbat

Ki Tisa/Shabbat Parah 5767

New Hearts and New Spirits

I'm waiting, G"d. Where are they? When are You going to get around to this? Not just for me, but for all of us. Those new hearts and new spirits you promised us.

What's that you say? Speak up, I can't hear You. Oh, I guess that must have been some other noise. You haven't said a word. At least, not lately.

It's Shabbat Parah, when we really begin preparing for Passover. When we begin cleaning out the chametz in our homes, in our lives, in ourselves. How fitting that we hear about the red heifer, that mysterious animal whose ashes make the impure pure, and the pure impure. (What's the lesson it that?)

As an aside, there's a great quote on the Judaism 101 website about this, albeit just a trifle misogynous:

"This proves that the rabbis were all men, because any woman knows that when you clean a house, you start with a clean sponge and a dirty house and you end with a dirty sponge and a clean house, and there is no great mystery in this!"

(As if housecleaning is only a women's chore. I'm willing to bet at least of few of the great sages had wives who wouldn't let them get away without doing their fare share around the house! In fact, I sometimes wonder if it's because the rabbis were so dominated by their superior wives, that they took out their frustration in how they misogynistically interpreted text. But I digress.)

It's in the haftarah for Shabbat Parah, taken from Ezekiel chapter 36 where G"d states:

36: 25 "I will sprinkle pure water upon you, and you shall be pure. (That's one of the connections to the Torah reading for Shabbat Parah.) I will purify you form all your impurities and from all your fetishes.

26: And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh;

27: and I will put My spirit into you...."

So here I am, waiting for that to happen. I want a new heart. I want a new spirit. And I'd sure like to see the hearts of stone ripped out of [insert your least favorite politician or president here] and [insert your most reviled corporate tycoon without a conscience here] and [keep inserting those with hearts of stone until you've had enough catharsis.]

C'mon G"d. Deliver me. Deliver us. Save our planet. Save our species.

No answer. No response. Guess I'll just sit here with my hands in my pockets waiting for moshiach. After all, G"d will take care of it all. We just have to wait around for it. Right?

Or perhaps G"d has already responded, and I'm just overlooking it? Yes, maybe that's it. G"d has given us the tools we need to accomplish this transformation, if we would but use them.

So, we can all sit on our hands and wait for G"d to give us new hearts and a new spirit. Or we can make it happen ourselves. I can't sit around waiting, and I'm not sure our planet or species will survive if we don't use the tools that G"d provided for us.

I know Shabbat is a time of rest. That doesn't mean we can't use the time to figure out what we're going to do in the six days following Shabbat (and the six days after that, and after that, etc.,) to remove the hearts of stone from ourselves and each other, and put a new spirit into all of us. If not now, when?

Shabbat Shalom,


Some Previous Musings on the Same Parasha

Ki Tisa/Shabbat Parah 5766-Fortune and Men's Eyes
Ki Tisa 5765-Re-Souling Ourselves
Ki Tisa 5764-A Musing on Power Vacuums
Ki Tisa 5763-Shabbat is a Verb

Ki Tisa 5762-Your Turn
Ki Tisa 5760-Anger Management
Ki Tisa 5761-The Lesson Plan

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