I still comb my daughter's hair each night after her shower. And each time I do so, I am reminded of the trip to the emergency at the DuPont Children's Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware in 2012. Batya was jumping on her bed (yes, like the story of the monkeys) and bumped her head on the radiator. She healed and moved on to more jumping, but she has a small scar that remains under her hair. It will be Batya's first scar, as I suspect she will have others in her lifetime, as most of us do.
I am reminded of healing this week because it is in this week's Torah portion of Behaalotecha that Moses offers a prayer of healing for his sister Miriam, who is punished with leprosy after speaking negatively about Moses. This short and simple prayer is a regular part of our Shabbat liturgy. While the prayer is short, we know that healing can be a long process. And even when one is healed and healthy again, scars can remain, be they physical or emotional.
I also find it powerful that we learn in this parsha that the entire community of Israel camped and waited seven days for Miriam's recovery. This has always validated for me the significant role Miriam played in the collective leadership circle shared with her brothers Moses and Aaron. But perhaps it also demonstrates that healing is necessary not only for the one who is ill, but also for those in the life of that individual. Miriam's punishment and subsequent illness reverberated in the community of Israel, impacting future actions. It is possible that those around Miriam were left with scars of the time, serving as a reminder of the consequences of her speech.
I am certain that my daughter is unaware of her scar. She even reflects upon the incident fondly as a time she got to spend with Ema (that's me) without her twin brother, drinking juice boxes and watching cartoons in the hospital. For myself, Batya's tiny scar suggests that even after the healing of body, we are often times left with a change of mind or attitude. My daughter's attitude was unchanged, but as a parent, I was again reminded that life is truly precious.
Chief Executive Officer
Jewish Federation of San Antonio