Oh, the sweetness of Shabbat. Our day to rest and acknowledge our role of being God’s partner--yet taking the day “off” from creating. Shabbat is our time out, a gift when we cease work and stop--to take the time to reflect and consider how our work this past week, has been good. Shabbat is a gift.
All this being said, what a week this has been. In the midst of Pesach, having two s’darim behind us, we anticipate the eventuality of having less matzah dust to contend with. The hype, unconsciously getting sucked in, and the incessant preparing...dayenu—it is enough. The frenzy of stopping at grocery stores, making lists, cleaning (and with a feather yet??), and eating…at some point, we can feel grateful we are nearing this holiday’s end.
And then what? We wait for that freshness of that first taste of matzah again next year. It is a cycle, of which we are a part. It is the cycle of Jewish time, which is something we may choose to get used to. It offers rhythm—a bit different than those around us. As Jews, we observe a different set of holidays and it sets us apart--OR we can choose to be together, with each other. Jewish time links us--making us stronger as we share recipes, stories and history. This notion of Jewish time is powerful.
Pesach: “The Jewish festival of freedom is the oldest continuously observed religious ritual in the world. Across the centuries, Passover has never lost its power to inspire the imagination of successive generations of Jews with its annually reenacted drama of slavery and liberation.” Rabbi Sacks goes on to state in the Koren-Sacks Pesach Machzor, “Pesach is the oldest and most transformative story of hope ever told.” And finally, “It is a story of the defeat of probability by the force of possibility. It defines what it is to be a Jew: a living symbol of hope.”
Hope—a very strong concept. Along with being an embracing partner to God, we join the awesome invitation to join in an incredible adventure. Engaging in acts of loving kindness and Tikkun Olam--I am so grateful to participate and unite with my WRJ sisters in making the world a better place. Nothing can surpass the feeling of empowering one another--it is rich and it feels good.
Although we sisters may celebrate our Jewish holidays separately in our homes that span North America and even the larger world, my sense is that these mutual celebrations cross international boundaries. I am comforted and delighted and find it simply amazing to know that my sisters share values that we hold dear—being strengthened by forged friendships spanning miles.
So, let’s conclude where we started. Thank you God, for giving us the commandment to shamor v’’zachor--protect and remember Shabbat. May the candles we light spread brightness throughout the world—to the areas of darkness that need illumination as well as our own hearts, and beyond, to those we hold dear.
Marla Goldberg serves on the WRJ Executive Committee as Chair of the Israel Education and Advocacy Committee. She is a past Midwest District President and belongs to B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield, IL.