Thoughts on Muizenberg
4 years ago my wife Elisheva and I had the privilege of joining the small community of Muizenberg in Cape Town, little did we know that decision would create a domino effect that would see us visiting different communities across the world and seeing, as my wife so aptly puts it “the kaleidoscope of Judaism” and bring us to the Paradesi Synagogue in India for our Shlichut – on many levels it was like a pilot for the journey to come.
I remember teaching the weekly Chumash Shiur in our home for some of the congregants at that time and discussing how the end of the book of Bereshit and the beginning of Shmot contain our slavery to the various paradigms of the time and nation we live in exile with.
That this experience of becoming subsumed in the host culture and losing the freedom to express certain ethnical individualistic practices is really “nothing new under the sun”.
We too long for strong leadership to guide us through the maze of culture, halacha and our response to the modern shift in social dynamics and the political landscape – our Moshe of the generation, it feels that within this time that we have lost too many of our most treasured Talmudei Chachamim.
My feeling reaching Shmot, a book filled with miracles, the essential theological mission statement of the people of Israel and their national dialogue with their Creator – is that the last year and recent events have served to remind us how quickly the trust in the normative stable reality that we tend to overlook can be utterly overturned in a moment.
The Torah lends us the wisdom that whatever calamity we are going through collectively in a certain moment we will come to remember and derive lessons from for centuries, even millennia to come.
May the first Shabbat of the New Year be the end of this exile and a blessing for all humanity to join together in our worship in the mystery of the Creator, we have already shown that the world can work together during a calamity, let’s now prove to ourselves our love and respect our world and its inhabitants.