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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

06/22/2023 05:00:28 PM


Rabbi Chelsea Feuchs

Parashat Chukat opens with a full chapter on the slaughter of a red heifer and various ways to contract and address ritual impurity. On its face, this part of the Torah portion is much less engaging than the narrative sections that follow, in which Moses loses his siblings, his temper, and his ability to cross into the Promised Land. I would wager that everyone in this community has experienced grief, anger, and personal limitations. I would also wager that nobody in our community ritually slaughters red cows (although those who have read Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union will be familiar with the concept).

Even though the opening chapter of Chukat describes an incredibly distant time and form of Jewish practice, it still has an important lesson to teach us today: the importance of working together across different roles, generations, and circumstances. The Israelite people must bring the red heifer to Moses and Aaron, who then turn it over to Eleazar the priest, who then supervises the slaughter and burning but relies on other people to enact it, who then need yet another party to gather up the sacred ashes. It is as if the entire community is engaged in a holy relay race, each playing their part while empowering and trusting others to do the same.

While I hope that my time serving as your Interim Director of Education will be less messy (although who knows what kind of glittery, googly-eyed, water-colored art projects we might dream up!), I also hope that it will be equally collaborative. My mission is to empower every child in our school to ask questions and take on leadership roles; to encourage every parent to become both an advocate and a volunteer; to trust that every learner of every age will bring their unique talents and interests to our community. As we take the summer to prepare for the mad dash that comes with the start of the school year and the fall holidays, I cannot think of a better team to run alongside than all of you! 

Sat, July 13 2024 7 Tammuz 5784