Shabbat VaYinafash ~ Rest, Restore, Re-Ensoul Yourself with Gratitude

A remizen shabbatnder to join our kehilla this Shabbat/Saturday morning, November 26th, when we will gather for Shabbat Vayinafash, a contemplative approach to Shabbat morning worship and Torah. We will meet from 10:30 a.m. to noon at a private home in Upper Arlington. Text 614.592.9593 for more information.

Join Spiritual Leader Jessica Shimberg for a gentle flow of Shabbat chant, liturgy, movement and holy conversation around themes from this week’s Parsha/Torah portion, Chayai Sara.  While this parsha begins with Sara’s death, its title is “Sara’s LIFE” rather than “Sara’s death,” and her presence permeates the entire portion. This emphasis is no surprise for those who are familiar with the ways in which we, Jewishly, approach death:

  • emphasizing a great appreciation for the life that was lived, for life in general, and for the Source of Life,
  • remembering the life lived in great detail throughout shiva (the initial period of mourning),
  • finding comfort in continued reflection upon how life does not end with death, but continues in the hearts and memories of those who were touched by the lives of those now gone,  
  • continuing to say Kaddish regularly throughout the year following the death of a close loved one, keeping them close in our hearts as we praise the Source of Life, and releasing their spirit to soar on the wings of Shechina (the immanent, indwelling presence of the Sacred), and
  • returning to our own lives with renewed appreciation for the gift of life and doing honor to those who have died by performing acts of loving kindness and tzedakah in their memory.

May we be blessed to see, especially on this “Black Friday” of conspicuous consumption in the U.S.A., that our lives are enriched by using what we have to do good deeds, to share our truth with love and sensitivity, to grow relationships filled with compassion.  Rather than accumulating possessions, let us ensure to value of our lives by contributing to peace and justice in our world and building a legacy of loving kindness.

*with appreciation to my friend, erev rav Jennifer Singer, for the inspiration for this post; and with deep grief at the loss of life and art, the abstract impressionist art of Yoram Raaman, entitled Dancer, is shared. Although he and his wife are alive, their studio was burned to the ground last night in one of many fires raging in Israel this week ~ another reminder of climate change.

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