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D’var Torah - Tazriah – Total eclipse of the heart

From our Hebrew School Director Liora Ramati

This week choosing my words has an extra importance since the main theme of the Torah portion is about the power of our speech and the consequences following it.

As I am sitting to write my D’var this Monday, April 8, baking in the morning sun, conscious not to miss out the few moments I have to experience the solar eclipse, when the moon will completely block the face of the sun from view or in my case only partially. It feels exciting to be able to experience total darkness during day time only because we know it is short lived and soon after the light will once again be revealed. I also hope not to miss on an important message this week’s portion can reveal to us while we are still experiencing partial darkness following our full eclipse that began on October 7th, 2024.

After my army service along with two of my best friends, I left for a year, or as much time my money will allow me, to travel in South America. During my trip we joined, created and changed many different traveling companions. Through it all, I was never alone! I don’t like to be alone. It’s not my comfort zone. So as the trip came close to an end together with my money, and my best friends returning to Israel, I decided that it is an opportunity to conquer my fear and experience alone time:

Me, myself and I.

I went to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, stopped a cab and asked the driver to take me to a hotel. He did as I requested and dropped me off at an empty hotel, secluded and far-off the center of the city. I got exactly what I wished for. Even the owner of the hotel went home and left me completely and entirely by myself.
I was all alone!

Imagine a hotel with only one light on, it was my light but I still felt in total darkness. I was wondering about the concept of being alone, moving from the idea of feeling bravery and independence to the reality of feeling of isolated and fearful.
Reading this week Torah portion brought up the feeling of loneliness I feel these days. Trying to imagine how someone like Amit Sosna, might be feeling after finding the strength to share her painful story while being captured in Gaza by the Hamas. exposing her deep wounds to the world, bringing her torture to the surface of light just to be stricken by darkness as the world chose what to say and how to react.

This week Torah portion is called Tazria, we read on13-46: He shall be impure as long as the disease is on him. Being impure, he shall dwell apart (Badad Yeshev); his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
The word “badad”, being alone, is sometimes needed just like in the case of the contagious Tzarahat when the leaper needs to sit alone outside of the camp, badad yeshev michutz lamachaneh moshavo’.
Reading this phrase give the sensation that being alone is not a safe place to be. Outside of your secured camp all by yourself, specially under these circumstances, it feels more like a punishment and even inhumane. It is when we are sick and weak that we need to be with people that care for us. Maybe not in the same room but at other rooms in the same hotel when someone can check on us every so often.

Tazria starts with the opening verse: “When a woman conceives and gives birth.” Who is this woman? She represents us, the Jewish people, who through an intimate relationship with G-d, we conceive ways to bring new life into the world.
The word: Tazria, means “gives seed.” This term is metaphoric to Mitzvot which are referred to as seeds, just like the pomegranate which is a symbol for a fruit with 613 seeds representing our mitzvot. After a seed is planted, it blossoms, grow and bear fruit. The moment a Mitzvah is being executed, is the creation of a better lighten world.
This is why the Torah highlights the concept of conceiving before giving birth. Before life is brought into the world at birth, there is the miracle of conceiving from a seed.

Creating nothing from something! From darkness comes light!

Tzaraat, the skin blemish, is G-d’s way to assist us to bring something new and better into ourselves. This skin disease under the surface can describe our feeling alone, far and isolated from the camp but with the action of planting seeds of strength, love and understanding we can change our reality and come back closer and better.

In Kabalah there is an explanation of different energies that move us. Escaping is what the soul desires to do, while settling is what the soul is committed to do. Tzaraat, is the place in between that allow us to realize who we are and what we need to do.

My alone time, escaping my fear was short, it didn’t take me long to walk down the dirt road until I reached the city lights looking for a tourist information center to ask for help. The young guy sitting behind the desk looked at me up and down as I was telling him my story, He examined me like the great priest, wondering if I had enough time to plant the seeds of change to bear the fruit I wanted, to see if I was ready to integrate back to society and then he closed the office and started walking back with me to help me get my luggage from afar and showed me to a nice crowded hotel in the center of town.

My Tzarahat period was short and painless. It felt like taking a cold plunge. Unfortunately, for Amit sosna the healing time is much longer. It is up to us, the people sitting behind the desk to realize that this is the moment we can’t miss, we need to get up and walk with her and all of Israel and show them that the light is about to be reveled again. That is the only way they can return to camp not just physically but emotionally.

We are in an historic moment when all the evil has been reviled and surfaced the “skin” of the earth. Once the illness is observed it can’t be ignored and as hard as things are, we should have faith that this is the time to reach full recovery by planting the seeds of change and moving from feelings of despair to feeling of hope to create new life.

We read in Bereshit 2:18: Lo tov heyot ha’adam levado: ‘It is not good for man to be alone’. After watching the partial eclipse with the special extra dark glasses thinking how dark and lonely it feels in the tunnels underground but remembering to use the same glasses to see all the people hugging us, our friends and allies during this eclipse and pray to soon gain the support from the rest of the world to achieve full recovery. Amen!


Beth Moshe Congregation is filled with generations of South Florida families with roots and traditional values. 

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