Sunday, May 22, 2016

Shabbat Shalom

On Saturday, my wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to join in the celebration of a Bar Mitzvah. For those not in the know, a Bar Mitzvah, or "Son of Commandments" is a celebration of a young man being welcomed as an adult in the Jewish faith, responsible for his own actions, and ready to fulfill the 613 commandments in the Torah (a continuous rolled scroll upon which the five books of Moses are written in Biblical Hebrew). This young man is the son of a close friend of my wife's, and it was an honor to be invited.

In a way similar to the Catholic church, most celebrations include a normal mass (or "service" in non-Catholic traditions). So, included in the Bar Mitzvah was a traditional morning service including prayers, blessings, and songs.

The reason for this particular writing was a short segment that we all recited as part of the service. I'm going to include it here:

"The Meaning of Shabbat is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on Shabbat we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation, from the world of creation to the creation of the world."

If you are anything like me, you'll want to take a moment to pause and reread that.

(Note: Shabbat is also known as the Sabbath [which most Christians celebrate on Sundays]; defined as the time from Friday sunset to Saturday evening when three stars appear in the sky. Though, with the multitude of cloudy days we have here in Ohio, I'm not sure when they DO conclude Shabbat, as you can't see the stars!)

"…we try to become attuned to holiness in time."

I've written quite a bit concerning my views on time and my understanding of God within such boundaries. So, you know that the above statement would "stop my clock" (pun intended).

As I've written in the past, God lives in eternity, or in other words, without time. He is not bound by cause and effect. He sees the end from the beginning because He is outside of time where the beginning and end reside.

The most impactful name He chose to use to describe Himself was given to Moses: "And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent me to you."'" (Exodus 3:14) (NKJV)

The most precious name God chose to use concerning Himself was one that said, "I have stepped INTO time to be with you." Holiness stepped into the world of time.

That's why that statement struck me so. Shabbat is a time where we focus on becoming attuned to holiness (God's very presence) IN TIME (in our NOW). We set aside the busyness of life in time, to focus on the One who is not limited by time, in order for us to become more attuned (more receptive and aware) of the holiness that we will eventually find ourselves once we step out of time - into eternity.

There is something special about setting aside life and its business, to share with one another on "what is eternal in time". Whether or not you are one who believes in the existence and presence of God, taking such time will bring more focus on our finitude, and hopefully help us realize the wonders of our now.

Shabbat Shalom

©Emittravel 2016

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