The Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade threatens the rights of many people. Lots of us are having lots of feelings about it. April Baskin and the Joyous Justice crew (https://joyousjustice.com/) remind us that "1, when we honor our feelings and give them space, we're less likely to be ruled by them, and 2, you are not alone!"
This Shabbat we read Shelach Lecha, a story of everything falling apart. It's the story of 12 spies who completely disagree about facts in the present and the path forward. The majority view of the land is "We can't go there! It's dangerous!" The minority view sees that the future has promise.
But the community freaks out and gets scared, and all of a sudden instead of being on the border of a land of promise, it's going to be another whole generation before the promise can come to fruition. 40 years in the desert.
Are you feeling it right now? Especially those of you old enough to remember Roe v. Wade. You never imagined we could lose this right. But you hold some collective wisdom that we need right now: How to organize to support people who can get pregnant who live in places where abortion is not legal, not affordable, not safe, or simply not available. And folks younger than me have tools and understanding to help us channel our support in ways that break down racial and economic disparities in access.
But the 40 years *did* come to an end. This is not the end of our story. And the final paragraph of this week's portion contains the commandment to put tsitsit (fringes, tassels) on the corners of our clothes. Why? As a reminder that we are in a brit, a covenant, with God (however you understand God) and with each other. A wise friend of mine who is a lawyer taught me that when a contract is broken, it's broken. But when a covenant is broken, you come back and try and repair it.
So with us. This is not the end. It's a horrible place in the middle. It's going to be tough to get to where we want to go, and there is work to do! But for this Shabbat, can you follow this advice from April Baskin and Joyous Justice?
" ...we do not have the luxury of giving up. Hopeful determination is essential for those who care about justice, equity, and love. Hopeful determination is fuel in the fight for justice.
And, Beloved, you can't sustain the fight if you're neglecting or papering over your very real distress. Shabbat is coming. Regardless of your regular practice, let’s agree to set a kavannah, an intention this Shabbat, to give ourselves the space to feel our feelings (whatever they may be), honor them, and then try to find oneg, joy, or, if that feels too far, simply relief—even if it is small—let that re-energize us. "
Shabbat Shalom from Crane Lake Camp,
Rabbi Debora S. Gordon