Last Shabbat was one of my best ones ever. My roommates and I had friends over from out of town and we spent Saturday baking pretzels, playing video games, and catching up with each other. I’ve heard it said that Shabbat is a preview of a more perfect world, and this Shabbat really made me believe it. I didn’t want it to end.
This reminded me of a story that a Beth Emet youth programs alumn told me. A Rabbi would host Shabbat at his house for all his students, and every Shabbat they would talk and relax and eat and pray together. They were the most wonderful Shabbatot (the plural of Shabbat). One week they did Havdalah, and all the students left the house except one, who refused. The Rabbi told the student, “if I was you, I would want to run out that door right now.” Naturally, the student asked his teacher, “why?” The Rabbi replied, “I would want to run out that door, to share what I learned during Shabbat with the world.”
As I walked into Beth Emet this past Sunday morning, this story popped into my head. I was sad that Shabbat had ended and that my friends had gone home, and yet I was feeling excited for the day ahead of me. “Today I’m going to share with my students what I learned during Shabbat,” I thought to myself. I learned that pausing for Shabbat to allow me to focus on what really matters to me is quite important. Being with friends and being able to be fully present with my friends in the moment was a gift – for me a gift of Shabbat. I also found that I had time to pause and reflect. I am grateful for many aspects of my life. This week I am most grateful for the people who support me and with whom I can be myself, enjoying them and having fun.
I was immediately gratified after I shared this story with my fourth grade students. They were being exceptionally kind to each other, working well together on a group project, and engaging in the material with insight and sensitivity. At the end of the day, they shared their work together with a story time on the rug. I’m looking forward to this Shabbat. I’m also looking forward to this Sunday (12/19) when our vaccinated middle schoolers are invited to take part in our Chasamba panel to help plan events for next semester.