Is it night time in Africa?
Of the many blessings of living in Cape Town, its status as the most beautiful place in the world outside of Israel – my mother-in-law’s judgement, verbatim – is definitely high up on the list. Never does that beauty shine like in the middle of a beautiful sunny day as the bright light fills your heart and soul with a sense of warmth, joy, and the blessings of life.
But it gets dark here too in Africa.
Sometimes the darkness is just one of those long Cape Town winter nights, and sometimes it’s the realities of life, health, wealth (or lack thereof), peace of mind, anxiety, spiritual, and social connections – where the long night seems to set in, and life in dark Africa seems to stretch without end.
And that’s before we even talk about loadshedding.
Which brings us back to the first long night of our people in Africa.
This Shabbat, we learn about addressing our darkest corners, and shining them with light. From the beginning of the first parsha, Tazriyah, through the very end of the second parsha, Metzora, all we learn about is purification processes. How to take ourselves from a defiled state of impurity and cleanse body and soul – even the bricks of the house – into a better state.
The very opening verses talk about the purification following childbirth, and in that context, we’re given the post Sinai mitzvah of circumcision – removing the foreskin and its obstruction of our spiritual growth – during the day.
Yes, the mitzvah of Brit Milah, while done at the earliest possible time of the eighth day of a child’s life, needs to wait for the first 12 hours of the eighth day, which begins at sunset, until the morning so that the bris takes place during the day. It cannot take place during the night.
Except for the first bris that we performed as a nation, which Moses instructed we should do during that long dark night in Africa. The night started with slavery in Africa, and ended with our exodus to Sinai.
Yes, that first bris of ours was actually at night. Precisely at night. Because when we’re feeling enslaved to the long-term consequences of past mistakes, we need to forget about the difference between day and night, and take the leap of faith that our covenant with G-d celebrates.
True, we left Egypt thousands of years ago.
But even today, when you feel like you’re being pulled back there, don’t look at your clock to see if it’s day or night. Just make the jump.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom of taking your leap forward.