Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Let's admit it. Lately, during this era of the coronovirus crisis, we do not exactly remember what day it is. Everything is out of control. Breakfast turns into lunch which is actually dinner. Even day and night get confused.
On Shabbat we read the Torah portion of Shemini that sets boundaries for us. The parasha shows us the need to set clear boundaries in our lives between what is permissible and what is not. It begins with a warning not to enter the Mishkan when drunk and not to conduct the service in torn clothes since there is permitted and forbidden when it comes to the conduct of the Kohanim in the Temple sanctuary, which is the spritual center of the nation. It continues with all the laws regarding kashrut. The parasha goes into great detail regarding which animals we are allowed to eat and which we are not.
It seems to me that this catalog of what is permitted and what is not is highly relevant to the present time. Although it would appear that discipline has weakened and order has been breached in our lives and the lives of our children, we are still in real need of clear boundaries, of fences and red lines that cannot be crossed. We still need to sit down quietly with ourselves and think how we as individuals and as families can continue to remain diligent and learn to appreciate anew what boundaries are meant to be.