Havdalah Do-Over

Posted by RabbiCohen on Jan. 9, 2021  /   0

Shavuah Tov/Good New Week! 

Even though we only celebrated New Years a little over a week ago, it does feel like we need a do-over again, doesn’t it? Havdalah, which means separation, is such a do-over.  Each week, in Jewish tradition, we start anew.

I decided to write a Havdalah message this week, rather than a Shabbat message, because I feel like the symbols of Havdalah really speak to the moment.

I don’t know about you, but it has taken me time to fully wrap my head around all that has happened.   A mob invasion of the Capitol, although a logical escalation of the past 4 years, clear as daylight in retrospect, seems so contradictory to all that I hold precious about our country.  Even with numerous blatant warning signs in front of all of us, I never thought that I would see such a day.  

The Havdalah ceremony has three symbols: Wine or Grape Juice, Spices and a Braided Candle.

We start and end Shabbat with wine or grape juice, a symbol of those things that are precious and good in our world.  As we move into this new week, may we look back over the past week and find the goodness to bring with us.  

Spices are a symbol meant to wake us up with sweetness.   Let us be awoken to our potential to make change and find the sweetness in the world.  May our world smell like the cinnamon of the spice box and not the toxicity of pepper spray from this past week.

The braided candle reminds us of the community coming together and the strength of our unity to bring light to the world.   Let us find community, forge bonds and work together to overcome the hatred and strife so visible in the past week.

Let’s move into this new week with a sense of renewal and opportunity.  There is a lot of ugliness out there, exposed bare in the past week.  But there is also precious goodness, sweetness and community.  These are my Havdalah hopes for the coming week.

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