Mishpatim makes me think of Leonard Cohen and Bracha At Schwartz. Cohen sings of Boogie Street and ponders what is Boogie Street for.
So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear.
Tho’ all the maps of blood and flesh
Are posted on the door,
There’s no one who has told us yet
What Boogie Street is for.
O Crown of Light, O Darkened One,
I never thought we’d meet.
You kiss my lips, and then it’s done:
I’m back on Boogie Street.
A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go . . .
My dear friend Bracha Schwartz, who passed from Boogietown a few short weeks ago at Hadassha Ein Kerem, knew for herself what Boogietown was for.
A few years ago, Bracha told me about travelling to Europe with Lea Sand. In the airports, Bracha realized there was nothing she would eat- the level of mindfulness and purity and devotion to God that she lived with precluded tasting any of the offerings at the altar of international air travel, the altar of global capitalism.
And Bracha celebrated that! Oh, how it gave her meaning, reinforced her faith, brought the radiance she carried with her as she moved through Boogietown. As she created a place of beauty in her home, ( with her partner Sholem) ,so that everyone who was blessed to spend a Shabbos with her tasted the beauty and abundance.
She had no need to impose her level of choice on others — indeed, I myself dip into other altars. For her, Boogietown and all its mishpatim, all its laws, were her offering, her dedication, her gratitude for the unexpectedly rich family and community life that was offered to her, and that she accepted and dedicated herself to.