Today is twenty-eight days, which is four weeks of the Omer שחינה שבנצח. Shechinah of Netzach. Indwelling of Eternity.
Shabbat: the Palace in Time
Our grandest vision for Shabbat is to experience the Indwelling of Eternity. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, we build a palace in time to meet the Divine.
As with all aspects of Judaism, I have wrestled with this concept. I try to understand my guilt for Not Keeping Shabbat Like I know I Should. I try to understand the will within me that keeps me glued to electronic devices.
I sink into prayer and flow with the universe and forget my neuroses.
Wrestling with the Divine and The Way / Halacha
Rabbi Jeremy Kridel, an erudite Humanistic Jew, published a meditation on Shabbat this week. We have a fundamental disagreement in that I know the Divine exists. Nevertheless, his poem calls to me. It reminds me that everything I know about How to Keep Shabbat was created by humans. I believe the Jewish tradition, including Halacha, offers a deeply soul-nourishing experience. At the same time, I am no less Jewish if my Friday night through Saturday night occurs without the prescribed prohibitions and compulsory prayers / sanctification.
I pray Jewish prayers, I enact Jewish ritual because it is the spiritual technology that speaks in my soul’s frequency. I touch the deepest parts of myself in prayer. My soul speaks when I chant Torah and Haftorah.
Towards a Unified Existence
I am still working towards a unified existence. And while I hope my prayers will become more regular, I am consciously trying to let go of the voice within who judges me for “Not Being a Better Jew.” The Halachic way is not the only way to be Jewish. In fact, it never was. I say this not to disparage Halacha; I have deep respect for it. I say this because I want to embrace the fullness of who I am and be grateful that I can deepen myself through Judaism, as a God-knower without being a strict observer of The Way. (The Way is a more accurate translation of Halacha than ‘Jewish law.’)
It is not my Shabbat observance that I am most anxious about. I worry most about how I speak to other people. Am I learning from my mistakes as a parent? Am I helping my family deepen their connection to their own soul and the souls around them? Am I stating my needs clearly, while holding compassion and empathy for the people with whom I interact?
We shall never be ashamed
The Ahavah Rabbah, The Great Love of the Divine for humanity described in the prayer that precedes the Sh’ma, states:
“Unite our hearts to love and revere Your name,Translation by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in The Koren Sacks Siddur
so that we may never be ashamed.”
I’ve been thinking about ולא נבוש לעלם ועד, v’lo navosh l’olam vaed, the second line of this phrase. It is a common concept in Judaism. Participating in Judaism is designed to keep us from being ashamed. Always a collective verb. Olam means world. A more accurate translation is throughout all space and time. In every tangible, measurable aspect of consciousness, we shall be free of shame.
I am determined to spend some time during this Shabbat living into this idea. Letting go of my shame and being present to the joy that surrounds me.
May we all have a bit of time in the next 25 hours for pure presence. May we make space for the Indwelling of Eternity.
Previously on this day in the Omer
28 Days of the Omer 5778 / 2018: The truth you are discovering was meant for you.
28 Days of the Omer 5777 / 2017: Your body is feeding the universe and will continue to do so after you die.