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Faces on Faith: Making sacred the broken pieces

February 28, 2014
By RABBI MYRA SOIFER - Temple Bat Yam ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

We all know the story. Moses ascends Mount Sinai to receive divine revelation. The community, waiting below, gets impatient and worried. They build a Golden Calf and begin to worship it. When he does finally return, Moses sees this and is so angered that he smashes the tablets of revelation. (Exodus 32.19) which necessitates a return trip, up the mountain, for a second set.

The ancient rabbis ask a question that might not have occurred to most of us: "What happened to the shattered fragments of those first tablets?" Are there sacred shards still to be found in the desert sands? Did someone gather them up, perhaps, to sell on eBay? Or?

The midrash (imaginative rabbinic commentary) teaches that those broken tablets traveled in the sacred Ark right alongside the second, whole set!

Article Photos

Rabbi Myra Soifer. PHOTO PROVIDED.

Every one of us if we've lived any length of time carries some woundedness. Amidst our life's joys and successes, there is also some brokenness, some failure, disappointment or everyday "hard knocks." Can we find a way to understand all life's experiences as sacred? Can we treasure the brokenness as holy? Can we honor the shattered pieces as even possibly foundational to eventual wholeness?

May the Ark of our lives be spacious enough to shelter the text of our stories in all their fullness. May the broken pieces be integrated into our wholeness for a life of sacred shalom.



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