On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, I attended a Zoom call hosted by a woman named Elisheva, from The Safed Multipurpose Women’s Center, offering programming for Jewish women to celebrate the beauty of Jewish tradition and values, women’s health and spirituality, and help women focus on their Jewish identity.
Elisheva asked us to close our eyes and led us through breathing exercises. Just hearing her voice, being in the moment, I instantly felt relaxed. I guess I really needed it. Deep breaths in, deep breaths out. Shaking my arms, and swaying back and forth to release any negative energy.
Elisheva’s topic for the Zoom call was time, and the importance of paying attention to how we use our time, especially now, during the pandemic. She spoke about using our time together for introspection. To ask ourselves – who am I really? She reminded us to see the daily divine blessings that are all around us. We shared a moment of time together.
This Memorial Day was different. I didn’t go to the beach, there were no baseball games or summer cookouts. But, there was a lot of time. So I paid attention to how I use my time, and tapped into my spirituality. Just what I needed. And when I did, it took me back to my time in a place I love – Safed.
When I was in Israel two years ago I fell in love with the Old City of Safed. Safed is the center of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), and home to an otherworldly mixture of Hasidic Jews, artists, and devout-but-mellow former hippies, more than a few of them American immigrants who turned to mysticism in a search for spirituality and meaning.
Today, is Friday, the start of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. Jews observe Shabbat from just before sundown on Friday until nightfall on Saturday, and are forbidden to do work
But Shabbat is more than just a day off from labor. Shabbat is about time – a day of physical and spiritual delights that illuminate key concepts in the traditional Jewish perception of the world. My weekend wish for you is to pay attention to your time, and take the time you need to remind yourself that your light illuminates the world. I hope it continues to shine bright wherever you go.