- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On January 25, 2019
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we make our way toward Shabbat.
This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.
Mary Oliver, the poet extraordinaire, wrote these words, but even more, she lived them.
We can, too. We may not have her poetic voice, but we certainly have a soul, an inner life, that is nurtured from paying attention.
This week’s Torah portion helps us find the pathway to such a discovery.
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Eternal your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your settlements. For in six days the Eternal made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day, therefore the Eternal blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
(Exodus 20: 8-11)
In the portion we read this week, in the middle of the Ten Commandments uttered by God on Mt. Sinai is the positive instruction of remembering the Sabbath. In English, when we hear the word, remember we might associate it with that which we should not forget. But, it is more than that. To remember is to bring the idea, the thought, or the impression to the forefront of one’s mind. To remember is to be conscious and attentive. By doing so, we stimulate awareness. And then we see or hear or feel or taste or smell with a precious appreciation of what our senses offer us. Holiness happens as a result. We have distinguished and made the ordinary extraordinary.
And what of our soul? How do we know it exists? Through attentiveness, we transcend the physical to reveal the spiritual. Shabbat provides the space in time to allow the soul to be nurtured by what our attentiveness awakens. It calls out our innermost selves to revel in the moment and be awed by how wild and wise the experience can be.
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy
We gather tonight for a beautiful Qabbalat Shabbat, services begin at 6:00 p.m. If you cannot join us, please live stream here.
Tomorrow Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m. with a short service followed by an engaging discussion and Qiddush.
I appreciate your thoughts and reflections, please connect with me directly here.