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A New Conception

04/04/2019 09:49:20 AM

Apr4

Our Torah portion this week begins with an assumption “Ishah Ki Tazria”- “A woman shall conceive.” It takes as its starting point, even an expectation, that a woman will become pregnant and, at the appropriate time, birth a boy or a girl.  However, the rest of the Torah reflects a more complicated reality, one that makes it astonishing that there is a Jewish people at all.  So many of our essential stories are about couples who must overcome tremendous obstacles before they are blessed with children:  Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, ,and  Jacob, Rachel and Leah are just the beginning.  This makes it all the more surprising that even today, our community is still seeking the right ways to support those facing the same struggle.
 
The portion continues with a different topic- the experience of  those suffering  from various afflictions, including one called “Tzara’at,” that require frequent tests and inspections, and isolation from community. Though the physical details are different, the emotional effect is very similar.  Couples who are struggling with infertility challenges may wait from week to week, and month to month to see if there is a way forward.  Throughout this time, they may feel isolated from those around them.  Even interactions that may not be intended to be insensitive may end up having hurtful effect.  Someone seeking to become a parent  may feel uncomfortable responding to questions about “when will it be your turn.”  The invitation to a friend’s bris or naming may cause sadness.  In our Torah portion, the person who emerges from tzara’at must bring sacrificial offerings, with the possibility of a sliding scale on cost based on their means.  Often, the resolution of fertility challenges may involve significant financial sacrifice.
 
Our community is, however, seeking to provide greater support to the diverse needs of those facing infertility.  Rabbi K and I are always available to provide counsel.  We are also proud that members of the B’nai Torah community are among the founders and supporters of an incredible resources, the Jewish Fertility Foundation (https://www.jewishfertilityfoundation.org/)  JFF  provides financial assistance, education awareness, and emotional support to Atlanta Jewish families who have medical fertility challenges.   It is a wonderful response to the spiritual and financial burdens of these families, and the sense of isolation that they may face.   This Shabbat we will be spreading awareness of Jewish Infertility, and we have materials from JFF available.  
 
 The final reading this Shabbat is parashat “HaHodesh”- the reading which welcomes the new month of Nissan.  It encapsulates the idea that no matter how long or intense our suffering, there is the possibility for redemption and the celebration of new beginnings. May all those who seek to add to their families experience that blessing between this Passover and the Passover that follows.
Thu, November 14 2019 16 Cheshvan 5780