Shabbat. Shabbos. The Sabbath.
Once a week, each Friday around sundown, my family gathers to light two candles. The light generated by these candles is symbolic of spiritual energy. It signals to us that the day of rest is here. It is time for us to pause and reflect on our week, and on our inner spiritual lives. We break bread (challah), share a home-cooked meal as a family, and disconnect from our daily routine in order to connect with a deeper, more important energy.
We look forward to Shabbat. In this energetic, frenetic world where negativity abounds, Shabbat is like the ultimate spiritual reset.
For Jews, Shabbat is the holiest day of the week, a time to study Torah and absorb its teachings. But Shabbat is so much more than a religious ritual. Now, with the many rapid changes happening in our society, I feel like Shabbat is something we could all benefit from. It is a time to pause, reflect, learn and grow. It is an opportunity to absorb the lessons that are all around us, should we choose to pay attention.
I feel incredibly privileged to live in America, a democracy, where we are free to express our feelings and make our voices heard. Every side and viewpoint deserves to be heard, understood, and respectfully debated — unless that viewpoint rises from a place of hatred, intolerance, or injustice. I see far too much hatred and division in our country right now, and it scares me for our children and our future. The more we work to understand each other with empathy and compassion, the more we will unite to find a better way forward.
As I light the candles this evening, I am committing myself to illuminate the darkness. This weekly ritual of lighting candles each Friday at sundown is a reminder that we are all connected, and part of something much bigger than what we see on television or in our Facebook feed. I welcome you to join me, this evening and every Friday evening moving forward, whether your are religious, non-religious, spiritual, atheist, or simply conscious of our collective need for a brighter future. Let us light two candles every Friday evening. Let us unite our energy to remain open, act with empathy, and spread Light into the world.