- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On August 19, 2016
- 0 Comments
Welcome again to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
It is time for comfort. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu. It comes from the first words of the prophetic reading assigned to this Shabbat. Chosen for its healing effect following the past three weeks focused on the destruction of the Temple in ancient times, this moment moves us in a different direction. We begin the ascent with this Shabbat for seven weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah.
But first, let us take the words of the prophet Isaiah to heart: “Comfort, oh comfort My people, says your God.” (Isaiah 40:1) The prophet, Isaiah of chapters 40-66, lived in the sixth century and witnessed the devastation of exile. His words speak to the people thrust into catastrophe. He gives voice to the Divine message that there is a Force in the universe, a Power beyond their very being that can and does support and comfort them.
We have the potential to hear it, too.
Perhaps this week, you received bad news or you had trouble at work or you feel forlorn over a relationship. Perhaps, this week you are preparing to say goodbye to a friend, an experience or even a child moving out for college. Maybe it is the time of year that evokes the memory of a loved one gone from our grasp. None of us holds the monopoly on sadness and suffering, and all of us have known it as some point in our lives. “How are you?” we ask only to receive the response “Fine!” or “Great!” when we know that only scratches the surface.
Each of us has a piece of ourselves in exile. That is the human condition. It is also the human capacity to gain strength and find support from each other and from that which is greater and beyond us. This is part of the path of healing that leads up to Rosh Hashanah. It guides us toward the work of repair.
So, we take our first step together as we hearken to the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Comfort, oh comfort My people, says your God.” We have not yet arrived, but we are on our way. May this Shabbat help us go forward.
If you are in town, come celebrate Shabbat together and join us for Qabbalat Shabbat OUTSIDE with plenty of singing, learning, praying, thinking, and cool breezes.
Please feel free to connect with me here. I would be honored to learn of your own reflections and response. I’m grateful to the many people who have already shared their thoughts with me in this way.
Rabbi Elaine Zecher