Shabbat Shalom
Shabbat Tzav/ 8 Nisan 5775
Lev. 6:1-7:10 | Malachi 3:4-24

This Shabbat, Fay Lipschultz shares 
Shabbat: Return, Renewal, and Sanctification

My earliest remembrances of experiencing Shabbat were of when I was around 4 or 5 years old. My father traveled extensively for business during the week. My mother would constantly remind my brother and me that Dad would always be home in time for us to welcome Shabbat as a family. Instead of welcoming the Shabbat bride, we welcomed the Shabbat Dad. Even at a young age, I understood that there was something special that happened at sundown on Friday afternoon/evening that surpassed the power of anticipating the upcoming weekend. We always had dinner together, and then hurriedly cleaned up so that we could be on time for services, which began promptly at 8:30 RBT (Rabbi Polish time). This was what we did, and what we always did, every single week. 

 

As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to be able to attend a college that afforded me the opportunity to welcome Shabbat with a myriad of friends, many of whom grew up in similar households. In fact, I remember attending Shabbat services with various friends from other cities at the synagogues they were raised in, and they all felt like recreations of my experiences at Beth Emet. A close college friend, who subsequently became a rabbi, created, weekly, the most memorable Shabbat experiences, for which I am still grateful. 

 

As the circumstances of my life created new directions and pathways in the form of new cities to live in, and new careers to embark on, I found myself periodically recollecting my earlier life experiences with Shabbat, sometimes wistfully. Recreating the Shabbat of my earlier years was not always possible, nor necessarily what I needed at that time. During my time living in France, for example, it took me at least three months before I could even find a synagogue in my very provincial, post-war town.  It was a delight when I did, but a very lonely few months prior to that. During the years of my frequent stays in New Zealand, I learned to experience Shabbat in somewhat nontraditional ways that usually did not involve attendance at synagogue servicesbut almost always involved a glacier, a mountain top or a very colorful pub.

 

Fast forward to life as I now know it.

 

I feel very fortunate to be able to share my thoughts with you, particularly now. (How lucky I am to have been assigned this particular date!)  This Shabbat, Shabbat Hagadol, affords us the opportunity to embark on a spiritual housecleaning journey, much like the physical housecleaning we are preparing to do for Pesach in the coming week. Additionally, this past Shabbat, we welcomed the month of Nisan, a month that invites us to challenge our perspective on the nature of time. How timely (forgive the pun) it is for me to be pondering the meaning of Shabbat now! The Chassidic masters sought to devote their time and energy to holy pursuits, and Shabbat offered them a time to live in alignment with their highest intentions. Like these masters, I am learning to welcome Shabbat as a treasured opportunity to return to my essential self. To practice t'shuvah. To ask the really big questions that I don't always make time for during the week. Am I engaged in worthwhile pursuits? What intentions motivate my efforts? How can I bring my efforts into greater alignment with my intentions? What quality of being do I want to bring into the world? And then, when Shabbat is over, when I smell the sweet spices of Havdalah, I can start to feel renewed, ready to move forward practically and spiritually in the week to come.

 

For me, Shabbat is a gift of warm introspection, not a restrictive mandate. A sacred opportunity. I am reminded of the teaching of Rav Kook, who wrote,

 

"The old will be renewed and the new will be sanctified"

- הישן יהפוך חדשוהחדש יהיו קדוש

 

 

Return, Renewal. Sanctification. That works for me.

Shabbat Shalom.

 

 

FAY LIPSCHULTZ entered the world by entering it at Beth Emet (by way of Michael Reese Hospital), and despite a few interruptions has been a part of Beth Emet as it has been a part of her for almost six decades. At Beth Emet, she has been a member of the board, is a member of the Progressive Chevra Kadisha, a member of the FIAT committee and relishes the opportunity to log whatever time she can at the soup kitchen. She currently manages a two office dental practice after having spent several years as a health care consultant, attempting  to help physicians and health care systems improve their delivery of health care services. She is currently transitioning to the life of a neo-Chassid, and rejoices in every opportunity to study, Jewishly, with Beth Emet members and Klei Kodesh, Orot, Rabbis Jordan Bendat-Appell and Sam Feinsmith at the Center for Jewish Mindfulness, Rabbi Michael Balinsky and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, to name a few.
Each Friday during 5775, we are featuring writings from you, our congregants, sharing reflections on Shabbat. We hope you will be inspired to share your reflections with the community. If you are interested in contributing to this project, please contact Stacey Zisook Robinson
This Shabbat at Beth Emet

Friday, March 27
5:45 p.m. Wine and cheese reception in the Herman Crown Room.

6:30 p.m.  Kabbalat Shabbat in the Sanctuary including a birthday blessing for Ada Golbus
 
Saturday, March 28
9:30 a.mShabbat Minyan in Room 208.
  
9:45 a.m. Kahal Worship in the Weiner Room with Torah Reader Bob Render and Sarah Bloom and Torah Discussion Leader Shelli Patt. Potluck lunch to follow.

Mazel Tov to Lily Fitzgerald daughter of Susan and Peter Fitzgerald and Molly Pfeifer and Molly Pfeifer daughter of Danielle Crown and Jeremy Pfeifer on the occasion of their b'not mitzvah.  
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