What is a Parsha?
Each week in at Friendship Circle we acknowledge a passage from the Torah. This passage is referred to as a parsha. The first parsha, for example, is Parshat Bereishit, which covers from the beginning of Genesis to the story of Noah. Every week of the year has a Parsha. It gives us all a life lesson and offers meaning to our complicated lives.
Here is an example:
This week’s Torah portion – Sh’mini – tells of the consecration of the Tabernacle and laws regarding kosher animals. One law in particular stands out and teaches us an important lesson. Kosher fish must have two characteristics: fins and scales. Interestingly, all fish that have scales certainly have fins, but not all that have fins have scales (and would thus not be kosher). So basically, all they really need is scales. Why must we say fins and scales?
To truly understand this, we need to see what they both represent. Scales represent integrity. A foundation of honesty that protects a person and allows them to build their personality in an ethical and moral way. Fins represent ambition. The idea of an aid to allow the person to get where they need to go. In educating children, in influencing others, there are these two factors. The foundation of integrity and the concept of ambition that we must try to instill in others. But which comes first?
The Talmud tells us if we instill integrity in others, if this is their foundation, then drive and ambition will follow. However, if only the drive is there but not integrity, that is not kosher. Yes, the person can be successful and a hard worker, but he or she is fundamentally flawed if they don’t maintain integrity. That is the hallmark of a kosher personality.