- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On October 14, 2016
- 0 Comments
Shanah Tovah! Welcome again to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
We come out of the High Holy Days having listened a lot: to sermons, to prayers, to music, to the people sitting behind us whispering, to the sounds of cars and trains and feet on our way to services.
We also listened to ourselves. We asked questions about our behavior, whether we responded properly, where we are in life and where we think we should be. We wondered in the moments between prayers and even during them why we acted in certain ways and maybe when the service would end.
And we listened to the silences, the quiet moments when surrounded by hundreds of people, there was stillness. A thoughtful quiet of mind, heart, and soul sensed the impact of the moment on our own lives and the world.
Now it is time to listen for sounds of joy.
In just a few days, we will enter what tradition calls, z’man simchateinu, a season of our happiness as we celebrate the holiday of Sukkot. In Leviticus, we are commanded to rejoice, usmachtem, as we shake the lulav, the combination of the closed palm branch, the willow and myrtle branches, and the etrog, a yellow citron fruit, in the Sukkah. As our harvest festival, it presents a wonderful moment to revel in gratitude.
Judaism encourages celebration and gladness.
At a wedding, among the blessings offered is one that focuses specifically on the joy that the wedding couple bring to one another. It contains a litany of words for happiness and expresses the hope that “the cities of Israel and the streets of Jerusalem are filled with sounds of joy and happiness, the voices of the wedding couple, the shouts of young people celebrating and the songs of children at play.”
Shabbat helps us practice joyfulness each week. The “oneg” is not just about food. It is what we call Shabbat: a delight. The celebration of Shabbat is meant to bring great joy. How wonderful that we have such an opportunity each week to share a Shabbat meal, engage in Torah study, meet and pray together at Qabbalat Shabbat or spend time in quiet contemplation.
As we bring in Shabbat and move toward the festival of Sukkot, let us listen for the sounds of joy in our own lives and rejoice with gratitude for all that we have.
Come celebrate Shabbat together for Qabbalat Shabbat with plenty of singing, learning, praying and thinking.
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.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!