- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On February 22, 2019
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we make our way toward Shabbat.
Do not underestimate the power of Shabbat.
If you breathe, you appreciate Shabbat. Everywhere we look now, scientific studies assert the importance of pausing, stopping, turning off and breathing deeply as a healthy practice in the course of our lives. Our own religious tradition laid it out from the beginning.
On the seventh day God finished the work that God had been doing, and God ceased on the seventh day from all the work that God had done. (Genesis 2:2)
Yet, this verse poses a riddle. What did God cease from doing ON the seventh day? If God stopped ON the seventh day, then God must have been doing something? What exactly was the finishing touch?
Shabbat. The name describes the action: shavat-stop, cease, conclude. The climatic denouement of the creation story provided the pathway for Shabbat. It actually takes work to cease from work. It takes effort and intention because there are always finishing touches to add. Perhaps this is why God blessed the final action of creation and declared it holy, a distinct sacred moment in time.
In this week’s portion, another creation project comes to an end, the full description of the traveling sanctuary, the Mishkan. Following the receiving of the Ten Commandments, Moses retreated within a dense, dark cloud on top of the mountain to acquire the rest of Torah offered by God. The 11½ chapters between then and this week, detail the instructions of laws and how to build the Mishkan. The Torah beckons us in to be privy to the divine revelations and ends with the directive regarding Shabbat, which has become part of the liturgy.
The Israelite people shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout the ages as a covenant for all time: it shall be a sign for all time between Me and the people of Israel. For in six days the Eternal made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day God ceased from work and was refreshed. (Exodus 31:16-17)
But this time the blessing is specific. Refreshed. Reinvigorated. Revived.
How to guard Shabbat and how to ensure we remember this blessed moment will come later from the ancient rabbis. For now, for this week, and for all time:
We can never underestimate the power of Shabbat.
Please join together for Qabbalat Shabbat tonight at 6:00 p.m. If you are unable to join us, please live stream HERE.
Join the Membership & Engagement Committee for a Community Shabbat Dinner following Qabbalat Shabbat tonight. All are welcome to attend, please contact Dekel Luban for more information.
Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m tomorrow with a short service and then a rousing text study.
I appreciate your thoughts and reflections, please connect with me directly HERE.