As we prepare to wish each other a Shabbat Shalom , we know that the extremely fragile “Shalom” in Israel was shattered by Hamas rockets once again being fired into Israel. We also know that President Obama has taken a stand against ISIS in Iraq, promising airstrikes against the terrorist organization that shares the same goal as Hamas: the destruction of anyone who does not embrace Islam and the establishment of a Muslim caliphate that operates according to Shari’a (Islamic law). How on earth do we wish each other a Shabbat Shalom today? How on earth can we look forward to a Shabbat of peace, contentment and joy when we are worried and heartbroken?
On Wednesday, I was honored to officiate at the funeral of an aunt of one of our members. She lead an incredibly meaningful and inspiring life. Her family and friends laughed and cried as they honored their matriarch. It was a powerful memorial to a life well lived. After the service, as I was walking to my car, I was approached by the extremely elegant, elderly cousin of the deceased. She emotionally thanked me for the service and begin searching for something in her large purse. She pulled out a Werther’s Original, handed it to me and, again, thanked me – a sweet token of appreciation from a sweet woman who was mourning the loss of her dear cousin. Such a simple gesture – but so meaningful. As she was mourning the loss of her loved one, she still took the time to find something sweet to share with me. We can learn from her.
As Shabbat begins in a few hours and we struggle to wish each other a Shabbat Shalom, I ask that you remember the Werther’s Original that I received this week. Even in the midst of all of the madness, we must dig deep into our metaphorical purse and find a Werther’s Original. Something happened this week that brought us joy. Someone made you smile. You did experience, even for a moment, beauty. As we enter Shabbat, grab hold of this moment. Feel it again. Share it with someone else. And, as you do, wish them a Shabbat Shalom and mean it.
Shabbat Shalom – I look forward to seeing many of you tonight at 7:30