Friday, 8 February, 2013 - 2:35 pm


Does your life feel fragmented? Are you so stressed that you can’t nourish the important relationships in your life; your spouse, your children, and your friends? Are the interactions with your children limited to the constant instructions that you impart (clean your room, do your chores, listen when I’m talking)? How do we gather all the disparate parts of our lives?
This week’s Torah portion begins in a strange way, “v’eileh hamishpatim”-“and these are the laws.” The portion begins with the Hebrew letter vav, which as a prefix to a word means “and.” Strange, isn’t it? Why does a whole new portion begin with “and”?
The commentaries explain that when the word “eileh”-“these” is used in the Torah, it means to inform us that the following subject is a new idea, separate from the previous section. But when the word “veileh,” “and these,” is used, it means to connect the two ideas, the previous section and the following are connected.
In this case the previous section is the portion of the Ten Commandments, the ten statements that provide the spiritual framework for Judaism. The next portion (which is connected with the letter vav) is the logical legal framework for man to live in peace with his fellow. Lest you think that the two concepts are separate, the Torah connects them with the letter vav.
How does this help us heal from our fragmented existence? So often we think that our day to day life is divorced from our Judaism. We live and work, we raise a family and distinct from this life we also pay homage to our Jewish heritage – we celebrate some holidays, fast on Yom Kippur. But it’s almost as though it is two distinct existences; our life and our Jewishness.
The message the Torah is imparting is that in order to be successful in our life in matters between fellow man, we have to have a firm spiritual and G-dly foundation. This helps to unite the seemingly disparate aspects of our life. When we begin the day with Modeh Ani, we acknowledge G-d's gift to us –life. With this in mind we can start to see how the different parts of our life are all actually elements of the same underlying theme, all to serve the purpose for which we were created.
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