Shabbat Shalom: Marking Moments of Transition

Apr 16, 2021

This Shabbat’s Torah portion concerns the transformative practice of mikvah, and so it seems a perfect time to remind you all that a new community mikvah is under construction in East Denver.

The intention behind the Mikvah of East Denver is, perhaps, a bit different than that which drove the practice in ancient times. The focus on disease and the body contained in Tazria-Metzorah, this week’s reading, can feel anachronistic: our ancestors’ understanding of these issues may differ markedly from our own.

What this Torah portion can do, and what our new, modern mikvah can do, is teach us that there is spiritual value and weight—even solace—in marking life’s transitions, no matter what those transitions are. The way prescribed in this week’s Torah portion, with ritual bathing in a holy pool, is tied to a specific, cyclical moment, but it can also exist on a much larger continuum.

In any life, there are moments of change from one state of being into another. Moments for drawing near and moments for keeping distance. Moments of joy and rejoicing and moments of grief and grieving. Moments of abundance and moments of loss. Marking these moments through an ancient custom given new life connects us to ourselves, to our community, to our shared past, and to something greater still: our shared humanity.

Let us all celebrate that the East Denver community will soon have a new mikvah built, in spirit and design, for the entirety of the community.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Jay Strear
President & CEO