Did you build a fence around your pool? Or a guardrail around your roof or balcony?
This week’s Torah portion cautions us about erecting a fence around our roof or any dangerous area, like a swimming pool, balcony or tall staircase. You say that you don’t have any situation requiring a fence? Nevertheless, this law still applies to you!
Aside from its important and practical safety application, we learn a fundamental lesson about our behavior. The roof is the highest part of any structure. Metaphorically, this law teaches us to build guardrails to protect us from feeling too elevated or conceited.
These guardrails are meant to prevent us from allowing our feelings of swollen self-esteem to degenerate into selfishness. Egotism is one of the worst traits, and can cause us to “fall off our roof” by becoming so preoccupied with our own selves that we block out others, and even G‑d, from our lives.
It can also cause others to “fall off our roof,” because when we are full of our own conceit, we distance others and cannot reach out to them. If you’ve ever met a conceited person, you could relate to this. Even if they are conveying a positive message, it is usually difficult to learn anything from someone who has this ugly trait.
The building of the guardrails around the roofs of our new homes also teaches us that whenever we begin a new situation in life (“when you build a new house”), we are more prone to having our spiritual state tested. Changes or new circumstances can be challenging. At such times we need to set new parameters and principles for ourselves, to make sure that we keep our standards and values in check and don’t plummet downwards.
As women, we wear many hats and go through many phases of change in our lives. At some point we all have a message to share, whether as a teacher, counselor, mother, negotiator, doctor, psychologist, or in any of the many functions we serve throughout our day.
We all need G‑d’s presence, comfort and assistance openly in our lives. We also all need the friendship and wisdom of others. Let’s make sure our demeanor doesn’t block them out of our lives.
So, this week, let’s find the time to fetch a hammer and work on building that fence!
P.S. It’s hard to believe that the High Holiday season is so quickly approaching! In collaboration with the amazingly creative team at JCreate, we’re preparing for you an exciting crafting magazine, Craft It Jewish, full of incredible ideas to enhance your holidays. Here’s a special sneak preview.