For all of first semester and most of this semester, during our Saturday Lunch and Learn, we talked about the concepts of tumah and taharah, impurity and purity, over and over and over again. At the beginning of the year, I was disturbed by the fact that we, in the modern world, are all "spiritually impure," but at some point between the mishnah (short teaching from the rabbis) about apples and rivers and the mishnah about leaning out of the window over a funeral procession (keep in mind, this was advertised as "strange stories in the mishnah"), I realized that accepting our brokenness is a real blessing. We can either try to purify ourselves so much that we are walking on eggshells all the time or we can live in the holy in between space that is created in a world with no temple (the original purpose of the laws of purity were to dictate who could and couldn't go into the temple).
And this thought reminded me of a song that I taught at Saturday Morning services this week. The English part of the song which also happens to be the relevant part goes like this: I thank you for my life, body and soul. Help me realize, I'm beautiful and whole. I'm perfect the way I am, and a little broken too. I will live each day as a gift I give to you. I thought, when I first heard this song, how can one be whole and broken at the same time? But we can be. The fact that we are still here and trying to purify our lives as much as possible while accepting our brokenness is truly one of the biggest blessings I can think of, so maybe its a blessing to be impure by the laws of the mishnah. It takes the pressure off.