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“Outside” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings

June 30, 2023 | 11 Tamuz 5783

Welcome again to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat. You can listen to it as a podcast here.

Tonight, we go outside for prayer and celebration of Shabbat in the garden of our own synagogue.

Shabbat returns us to nature as Abraham Joshua Heschel taught: we turn from the world of creating to the creation of the world.  We are granted the space for awareness.

It’s an experience we have shared at various points of our lives when we take in the created world in gratitude and appreciation. We feel its power when we hear the ocean against the shore, the sounds of birds and bugs or the rustling of leaves on the trees. We feel its effect on our souls when we walk through the woods, dig down into the dirt to garden or catch the magnificence of the sun rising and setting. We notice but for how long?

Shabbat means to stop and then to be able to pay attention. To be outside or inside for Shabbat offers us these moments through prayer, individually and collectively. In preparation (and wherever you may find yourself tonight), I offer these words from Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav, as an intention.

Grant me the ability to be alone;
may it be my custom to go outdoors each day
among the trees and grass – among all growing things
and there may I be alone, and enter into prayer,
to talk with the One to whom I belong.
May I express there everything in my heart,
and may all the foliage of the field –
all grasses, trees, and plants –
awake at my coming,
to send the powers of their life into the words of my prayer
so that my prayer and speech are made whole
through the life and spirit of all growing things,
which are made as one by their transcendent Source.
May I then pour out the words of my heart
before your Presence like water, Eternal One…

Shabbat Shalom.

Connect with me here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Originally shared June 23, 2017

  • Join us at 6:00 p.m. for Qabbalat Shabbat. We gather onsite in the garden or online on ZoomFacebook Live, or stream on our website. Let’s celebrate together!
  • Tot Rock Shabbat gathers online at 5:00 p.m.
  • Torah Study gathers onsite or online at 10:00 a.m.
  • Thank Goodness it’s Shabbat gathers onsite at 10:00 a.m. No registration required.
  • Gather online to say goodbye to Shabbat with a lay-led Havdalah on Zoom at 8:00 p.m.