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If Torah was a Person

Every week, I am amazed at how Torah always seems to be right where we need it to be. Even though we are held to a weekly reading and don’t get to pick and choose the passages we need to hear at any given moment, often we get the passage we need to hear anyway, and this never ceases to thrill me. This week, the weird way in which we sometimes have double-portions (a thing that usually annoys me because I don’t like having to skip or choose or condense so much into one teaching) allowed us to jump ahead to K’doshim in a week that has felt anything other than holy. We needed some extra holiness this Shabbat and there it was – permission to jump past Acharei Mot and focus a little extra k’dusha, a little extra holiness into our lives.

The Torah seems to know just what we need. And Thank God.

But if the Torah was a person, this week would have been the portion commanding us to wipe out the memory of Amalek. If the Torah were a person, it might want to focus us on anger and vengeance and retribution. If the Torah was a person, it might not know how to put holiness first; it might be mired in its own sense of grief and loss and anger and pain. If the Torah were a person we might not have been able to have the beautiful conversations we had at Torah Study this morning and during services. We might not have been able to wrestle with the words of the Haftarah, which led us to discuss how the Philistines can be our enemies but can also be human and have their own relationship with God. I am a person – I would never have found it in me to lead this conversation if Torah hadn’t led me there. I am grateful that Torah called out to me and grateful that my rabbi-ears are attuned and were able to hear what my heart might otherwise not have been able to hear. The beauty of Torah. The miracle of Torah. I don’t know how to stop being grateful. I don’t want to ever stop being grateful.

I am a person in a community of persons. Thank God Torah is not a person or we might get lost. “It’s ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.” So true! So true!

If Torah was a person we might never think to put holiness first; we might forget to be gentle with one another; we might forget to be patient, or compassionate or forgiving.

Thank you God, for the gift of Torah. Please help me – and all of us – to live in according to its words and its wisdom.

Kein Yehi Ratzon – May it be Your Will


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