Knives & Chicken Parmesan or Passion for Being Different
Do the remarkable circumstances in which we find ourselves give us freedom to make any innovations we want in Judaism? Never would I have imagined streaming services for Shabbat - not that it couldn't be done, that's been possible since radios - no, I mean that it would seem acceptable to do so. I don't thin it's the circumstances though, I think it's how we understand what Judaism wants of us.
How great it was to find new strength and resolve for passionately observing the mitzvot in ways outside the norm addressed in the daily study of the Talmud. A few days ago the Talmud discusses how in one small community the rabbi allowed them to eat dairy and chicken together and how in another it was allowed to perform a brit milah on Shabbat even if it meant you had to smelt the iron for the knife on Shabbat to do it. Not only are we told that the other rabbis of the time, though they disagreed with these outlier positions, respected them; we are even told that these communities, because they were so careful and diligent in performing the mitzvot, even though they did so in ways others did not, their dedication was rewarded by God.
Let us never mistake a creative, innovative or lenient position with a half-hearted, apathetic or disdainful one. We will make it an integral part of who we are at NSJC to remain steadfast in our devotion to God, Torah and Judaism, even as I pray we never stop looking for new and relevant ways to connect our community members to them. While I won't see you this Shabbat in shul, I hope you'll be streaming and you'll see me as we all celebrate together!