In the midst of Shabbat preparations, in the midst of preparations to go to the CCAR convention to participate in a ritual of grief and stubborn hope, I have only a few minutes to type today.
If you turn on your TV, it seems that grief is everywhere: authorities are still searching for Malaysia Airlines MH370, still searching for the place where they should search. North of me, in Washington State, the community of Oso disappeared under an avalanche. And in the local news, there’s more grief: shootings, car accidents, death, death, death.
I am headed to a rabbis’ convention where I will join in a ritual of grief and stubborn hope: I’m one of over 70 rabbis who will shave my head to raise funds for childhood cancer research. It is a ritual of grief because a little boy died last December, a beloved child of our community, the dear son of two of our colleagues. It is a ritual of stubborn hope because we are choosing to take our grief and turn it into research towards better treatments for children like Sammy. If you don’t know the backstory already, you can read about it here.
In the local news, more awful stuff has happened. Drive-by shootings, corrupt public officials, horrible news stories about what some people are willing to do to other people: it’s endless, mindless, ghastly.
But for Shabbat, Jews will stop. Just for a little while. We will stop and do our best to appreciate the wonders of creation.
We will stop to notice love. We will stop to rest our bodies. We will turn off that blasted cable news machine and concentrate on goodness. For those in the depths of grief, obviously, that doesn’t stop. But the community pauses, and we hold the mourners in our midst, and we stop to do what we can to rest, to recover, to simply be.
I wish you “Shabbat shalom,” a Sabbath of peace.