Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Every Sabbath is special. Yesterday, it was not so much attendance at synagogue that transformed these moments into holy ones but rather slow, mindful walk to soul.
The day was overflowing with sunshine. As I left my apartment building, a man passed by. Smiling, he said:” The grass is so green I would love to just walk on it.”
The grass sparkled with greenness. Its fresh aliveness invited you not only to walk but also to lie upon it, perhaps even to roll upon its embracing blades of softness. I see a dog, playful and carefree, its back rubbing against the green, its front invitingly open to the sun in a clear blue sky, exposed to the chance petting of a passing stranger.
The gift of green grass-I am grateful, and the Sabbath’s sanctity filters through my mind.
I look up and catch sight of an elderly Korean woman coming down the hill. She walks unsteadily. Perhaps the slope challenges her sense of balance. She gets closer and I realize the reason for her strange gait. Swathed in a cloth tied to her back is a baby, a little Korean girl, her delicate hair held back in a tiny bun .I peer into her dark, shining eyes, eyes overwhelmed by the mystery of so much life. Her astonished eyes fill me with soft joy, another subtle sensation of the Sabbath.
My day unfolds with traditional prayers, chants and words of Torah. They are supplemented by words of communal sharing in a congregation.
Upon my return home, the sun is higher in the sky, hotter than the hours of a cooler and refreshing early morn.
I remember the preface to prayer only a few hours earlier. I am reminded of the words of a poet of gratefulness who wrote these words:
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird-
Equal seekers of sweetness…
Let me keep my mind on what matters,
Which is my work, which is mostly standing still
and learning to be astonished.
Which is mostly rejoicing since all ingredients are here,
Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
And these body clothes,
A mouth with which to give shouts of joy
To the moth and the wren…
Messenger, Mary Oliver.

What is the meaning of the Sabbath? The non-work work of the day is to “Love the world” by “standing still and learning to be astonished…which is rejoicing and which is gratitude!”

A wonderful way to make every Sabbath special.

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