Braid the Parashah


Chag Shavuot Sameach! I’m relying on extra coffee this morning after a beautiful community Tikkun Leil last night, hosted by Shir Tikvah.  It was such a blessing to learn, and to teach into the morning hours on this sacred day in this sacred community. I didn’t make it all night but my eyes saw the stillness of the 2:00 hour, something they haven’t seen in a very long time.

Being awake at that hour helped me embody the joy, the longing, and mostly the hope that accompanies the Sinai moment. There is something physically distinct about the experience of studying in the middle of the night and I was so grateful to be part of it, representing YourJewish.

I taught on the topic of Truth, truth, and multiple Truths and considered, with others, the boundaries of Eilu v’Eilu, these and these are the words of the living God…  We grappled with so many issues, the question of what we do when Truth (objective or subjective) causes pain, either to ourselves or to others.  And the question of boundaries… Does Eilu v’Eilu (these and these) mean anything goes, or are there limits? Can anyone just declare something as Truth or does it need to be grounded (as Psalms says: “Truth will grow from the ground)? Perhaps this text really means, “these and these, but not those (that don’t grow from the ground),” and if so, how do we determine when something is a truth, a partial truth, a half-truth, or even a falsehood… and at the same time, how do we not get stuck in a closed mindset where we reject legitimate Truths, not because they aren’t grounded, but because we can’t allow ourselves to see them as grounded?

The theme of the Tikkun invited us to consider our hope for a different world, perhaps revealed this year as we recommit to Torah.  This year I’m striving to embody a world that holds space for multiple Truths, that centers dignity in the face of painful Truth, and commits to expanding my own learning as I work out what Truths are, and are not, rooted to the ground.

Chag Sameach and good luck to all those who stayed up past their bedtime last night! I see you.

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