The Little Minyan Kehilla will gather to welcome Shabbat at 7:30 tonight in our worship space at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Upper Arlington.
Our Jewish wisdom tradition reaps great beauty and plumbs great depth in our observance and ritualizing of time cycles. Each week we come to Shabbat holding both the newness of a unique week passing into this sacred day of rest, and the ancient imprint of a seven day cycle we can count on “like clockwork.” Each Shabbat is both same and different. Each informed by a preceding week and, at the same time, by those things that never change.
The Kabbalists of S’fat, who gifted us the liturgy of Kabbalat Shabbat that we use to welcome Shabbat each week, say “Shamor v’zachor b’dibur echad, hish-mi-anu El ha-m’yuchad …” (from Lecha Dodi) ~ ‘Keep/Guard Shabbat’ and ‘Remember Shabbat,’ we heard in a single utterance (as a result of) the Oneness of the Divine …” This reminder of the existence of multiples within in the singular and the singular within multiples has many explanations, and needs none. It is a gift to have no need to choose – this one over that one – and to sit with the multiplicity suspending judgment.
Last week, I had the supreme joy of welcoming and celebrating Shabbat with 300+ of my Renewal chevre (dear ones from around the globe, gathered like the 4 corners of the tallit/prayer shawl to a single location near Boulder, Colorado – for many years, the home of our beloved Rebbe, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, and his beloved Eve). Along with three extraordinary women, I shaped a sacred conduit to channel our collective and individual prayer, our welcome of Shabbat and our sacred service to mark the evening’s arrival. With the holy chutzpah and deep love and intention it takes to lead prayer for one’s friends, teachers, and community of some of the world’s most capable shlichei tzibbur/service leaders, we nurtured and brought forth a vortex of Divine energy so palpable I often had to remind myself to breathe.
This week, I have the supreme joy of welcoming and celebrating Shabbat with my Little Minyan chevre. Our kehilla will likely draw a minyan (10), and perhaps double that. Friday evening in Columbus, the reality of “competing” opportunities and responsibilities, is also the end of a busy work week, a night for family dinner, intimate conversations, and release. And yet, my process of preparing for THIS Shabbat will be the same as it was for last Shabbat. A single utterance in the duality of Shabbat experiences will be my guide. I will welcome Shabbat with joy and gratitude and memory. I will taste the uniqueness of THIS week and the blessed sameness of all of the world’s Sabbaths, all of the Sabbaths of my ancestors and Jews everywhere, and people everywhere who celebrate sacred cycles. The uniting of worlds in the wisdom of Oneness. Adonai Echad u-Sh’mo Echad.
The Little Minyan’s Spiritual Leader, Jessica K. Shimberg, is a rabbinic student in the Renewal ALEPH Ordination Program and spent the past week at the annual Shabbaton and OHALAH Conference of Renewal clergy.