Thursday, March 1, 2018

Parashat Ki Tisa following a Megillah Reading

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Purim Sameach! Though tonight we are continuing the festive celebrations of the wonderful holiday of Purim, let’s not lose track of our Parashat HaShavua, which this week is Ki Tisa. In this Torah portion, the Israelites are told to each contribute a half shekel of silver into the coffers of the Sanctuary. Their teamwork and collective offerings aren’t always for the best, as this parasha also contains the famous narrative of the Golden Calf, but one thing you can say is that they at least seem to know how to work together and reach consensus as a group. They are on a path toward freedom but it is a long and scary path and in the meantime, they are often quite certain they will die in the desert. When the Israelites and the mixed multitudes come together and make decisions about what will best aid them on this path, when they all give equally toward the endeavor, they are showing up for themselves and each other. They are teaching us, their descendants, a model for collective liberation. When Esther needs to muster up the strength to use her unique position to save her people, she asks all of the Jews of Shushan, as well as all of her non-Jewish handmaids to fast with her for three days. None of the others have the power and position to take action as she can, but they can all support her, and show their solidarity with her efforts by doing as she does and sacrificing their bodily contentment for a time in order to contribute to her prayers and garnering of positive vibes. Each of us has different positions and access to privileges in life. We may find ourselves in moments of being Aaron or Moses, collecting the contributions for the greater good, or Esther, asking for help and allyship, and more often, we may find ourselves in the role of the people, just trying to get along and make our community and the world the best it can be. May we all use our positions with wisdom and compassion, and play our roles to the best of our abilities, to work for collective liberation of all people. Amen, Shabbat Shalom, and Chag Purim Sameach.

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