Transitions and Israel
As a people, wherever the Jews are, we have a remarkable and noble mission.
Reprinted with permission from The Torah: A Women's Commentary, edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Andrea L. Weiss (New York: URJ Press and Women of Reform Judaism, 2008).
Throughout our lives, we make numerous transitions and undergo various rites of passage, of both a formal and informal nature, consciously or unconsciously. Frequently these transitions are marked by ceremony and ritual of some kind: a brit bat or brit milah, a bat mitzvah or bar mitzvah, a mikveh immersion, a wedding. These are solemn moments, both for ourselves and for our closest relatives. Often they are accompanied by self-scrutiny, a vow, and a determination to improve, to "turn over a new leaf." The same is true of the beginning of each new year; indeed, this is the central theme of our prayers on both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. It also holds good when we move into a new home, freshly decorated, the walls clean and as yet unmarked by greasy fingers, the windows crystal-clear and gleaming, the empty rooms waiting to be filled with our lives. Parashat Ki Tavo begins with a ceremony that marks the entry into the Land of Israel (26:1-10): as an expression of gratitude, the people are to bring a basket filled with the first fruits of the land's bounty and to recount the events that led to the long-awaited settlement of the land.