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Shemini - What's Going On?

I sometimes ask myself what’s the number one question universally asked this week by people around the world? In the U.K. I would venture to say the question people are asking is, what’s going on? Human beings try to make sense of what’s going on around them. Innately we believe there is a design in the tapestry of life. We believe that history follows certain patterns. We therefore try to explain how and why individuals behave in particular ways. Sometimes however we cant make sense of what’s going on. We fail to understand why people behave the way they do. We are surprised and dismayed by the events that surround us. Clearly we are living in tumultuous times. The impact of scientific and technological advances are causing profound disruption universally. Human beings like piece of mind and security. It is difficult to operate in a world of uncertainty. There is however a dimension of existence that transcends change. It is a reality that is timeless. It is called “infinity”. The natural order which operates within the confines of time and space is by definition subject to change. It is called “finite” and is signified by the number 7. “Infinity” on the other hand which transcends time and place, is a constant and its symbol is the number 8 (∞). This week’s Torah portion is “Shemini” which means “Eight”. Our challenge as Jews has been to create a fusion between those two worlds. To infuse the “finite” world which we inhabit, with the timeless values and reality of the “infinity”. Life by definition if filled with disruption and uncertainty. It is only that today we are all able to experience those changes from any part of the world more instantly and vividly. The times are changing more quickly then our ability to process its impact. Our only choice is to discover and reconnect with those timeless values that comprise our very identity. Values that have withstood the test of time and circumstances throughout our long history. Values that have solidified our people as one nation under G-d shining its light unto the “nations of the world”.

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