Part One of a Three-Part Series on Shabbat
The celebrated author, Aldous Huxley, published The Perennial Philosophy in 1945. He called his era, “the age of noise,” and railed against the radio: “Nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes!”
I can only imagine what Huxley would have thought of today’s world, with its constant stream of news, shows, podcasts, social media, advertisements, and more. Our world is pretty loud, and it seems to be growing more cacophonous with each passing year.
As human beings, we tend to hear the loudest noises — to give our time and attention to whatever rises to the top. But what quieter, more subtle noises might we be missing? An autumn leaf, drifting across the pavement. The soft, even breathing of a child, sleeping peacefully in their bed. A beloved friend or partner, telling us what they need.
Often, it is our own voice that is drowned out amidst the competing messages around us. In the quiet, we may hear our conscience, guiding us to the right decision; or the voice of loved ones we have lost, telling us they are still with us.
Each week, I look forward to Shabbat — one of the greatest gifts our tradition has given to us. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel referred to it as “a palace in time,” separate from the busy and mundane practices of the week. As you enter this coming Shabbat, I invite you to turn down the volume in your life — take a moment to light the candles, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine entering a beautiful, peaceful, and quiet palace.
Sometime during Shabbat, set aside a little time just for yourself — maybe you can set aside an hour; perhaps it is just 20 minutes. Turn off your phone; separate yourself from anything that may distract you. Quiet your mind, so that you may quiet your soul, receiving in full the peaceful gift of Shabbat. Take time to reflect. Think about the practice you want to create for yourself this Shabbat, and for the year ahead.
Beginning this Rosh Hashanah, Temple Israel will begin a year of exploring and experiencing Shabbat. I invite you to learn with us, pray with us, and grow with us over the year to come. Join us these High Holy Days. No tickets are required, and all are welcome. We want to create meaning, intention, and community together, and we invite you to be a part of it.
Learn more about High Holy Days and Shabbat at Temple Israel by visiting www.templeisrael.com.