Student perspectives

JTRIBE President Inbar's Dvar Torah

IMG_7821.jpegShabbat Shalom everyone and welcome :)

My name is Inbar Turjeman and I am a sophomore at UT studying economics and sociology. Thank you so much for coming tonight, and if you are in Jtribe, don’t forget to submit your deposit for our Florida trip happening in may. They are due this monday at 11am! and... just kidding, happy April Fools.

This week’s Parasha is Parashat Tazriah, and it’s all about the types of purity and impurity that is present in our lives. In it, god speaks to Moses about specifically the purification of mothers after and before childbirth and the purification of the child itself after birth. For example, mothers go to a mikveh before childbirth, and a son shall be circumcised after the 8th day of his life, as I am sure some of you guys are very well aware. It also touches on how a person can be born with Tzaarat, which is a supra-natural plague,that is often seen when white or pink patches appear on a person’s skin. In that case, a kohen is summoned and declares the child as “pure” or “impure”. If the child is impure, they are asked to distance themselves from camp and temple until they are clean again.

At first look, the distance a person is forced to keep from the temple and camp may sound like a punishment. However, when you think about it more deeply, it may seem like a gift. The distance doesn’t come from thinking about the plague or sin, but rather from awareness of one’s impurity and the potential to overcome it. It encourages “heshbon Nefesh”, or self-reflection, and makes us put the past and future aside, and look at our present. It encourages us to take a break from the norm, something that does not often happens as busy students, and let our thoughts and feelings run through our minds. This is so important, and is often overlooked.

This week’s Parasha made me think about a conversation I had with a friend this week about “boundaries”. Now, Boundaries have become a sort of a buzz word nowadays, as it got the connotation that putting boundaries in place between you and others means that you are cutting them off, and that you don’t care to have them in your life anymore. But boundaries don’t necessarily mean that! In fact, when you put a boundary between you and a person, you allow for distance to think and value both yours and their needs. That distance allows you to calmly and truthfully explore your connection with the person, and appreciate their company even more. We shouldn’t be afraid of this distance, and of cutting someone of, because in that distance you really understand the purity and impurity of your relationship. The distance has a role and you can take advantage of it by truly realizing whether the connection is healthy, and is worth pursuing through obstacles and misunderstandings!! At the end of the day, a pure connection will last through challenge or disagreement and will end up stronger for it.

So, long story short, when you focus on the present, and the connection that you’ve acquired and made so far, take a little distance, and set a boundary. Think about whether those connections are making you happy, passionate, kind, whether they push you, or just bring you down. Learn that it’s okay to reevaluate and put your needs first too- you can’t stretch yourself in 500 different directions and try to please everyone without drowning in the toxicity and losing track of your needs and values too! Keep only the pure connections in your life, and you will feel better, I guarantee it. Anyways, Thank you for listening to my rant, and again, for coming. Shabbat Shalom everyone.

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