Have you ever been on top of your house? It’s not easy to keep your footing if you have to go on your roof. That’s especially true if your roof is slanted.
This week’s parasha contains a practical piece of advice. Among many laws pertaining to everyday life, the Torah states: “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you do not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone should fall from it” (Deuteronomy 22.8).
Current housing codes do not require you have a guardrail on your roof. But a sage of our people offers a spiritual interpretation of this verse.
I believe it was Rabbi Menachem of Chernobyl who noted that the Torah’s reference to a roof can also symbolize our thoughts. That is, our mind represents our roof so to speak.
Rabbi Menachem cautions we should put a guardrail around our thoughts in order to save us from falling into danger. Everyone at times has bouts of negative thinking. Sometimes we doubt our own value and question our self-worth.
However learning Torah, fulfilling mitzvot, and deeds of kindness help us stay grounded. They are like guardrails that protect us when we are vulnerable. They enable us to maintain our balance, even when we step onto unsteady terrain.