Raza de Shabbat – “Mystery of the Sabbath”: mystical words inscribed in the Siddur at the moment of crossing; twilight glimmer of the sun in descent, otherworldly betwixt and between: time that whispers of mystery and redemption – corridor within the hours, and yet beyond. Now the rush and worries of the week seem a faint memory, work set aside as we step into a world awash with the waters of eternity.
The restorative blessing of stillness, a rest that brings us back to the centre of being, calm and tranquillity that is the Divine breath at the soul of all.
Wrapped in the cool blanket of colour – not red, not green, perhaps no color at all; still and one now as it was in the beginning, when the Infinite first overflowed like water from a hidden mountain spring.
All of our days leading like pilgrimage to the transcendence of Shabbat; a glimpse of the World to Come.
Sublime and perfect stillness: candles lit, lifting awareness to the Divine spark that dwells within soul and world – flame of eternity erupting in the darkness of our all too human wandering in the exile of pain and alienation. Though I dwell in darkness, God is my Light. A radiance that reveals the added soul of Shabbat, the neshama yeteira that comes to us from the Great Beyond, now within.
White clothing of the Seventh Day, symbol and reminder of Divine chesed – pure grace, clear and flowing force of compassion. Cleansing within and without, a mikveh of the heart, enveloped in racḥamim; stirring each one of us to radiate that same gift of love and kindness – empathy for our fellow human being as an unbroken continuum of Divine love.
The clothing of the soul on this day that reaches beyond the ordinary and the material, precious beauty and simplicity, gleaming delight of life within the earthly. But this day, with the orange and rose slant of light, Heaven’s gateway open as we walk the path to shul, a short pilgrimage of mind-centring movement. Like Abraham of old, this is a Lech Lecha of sorts – a relinquishing of our excessive attachment to mundane matters. Go forth, the Chasidic masters teach us, from the diminishment of superficial obsessions, from the narrowness of small concerns, into a consciousness open and generous – grounded in a liberation no less than the Israelite Exodus from Egyptian slavery. This is the deep meaning of zeicher le Yetziat Mitzrayim: freed beyond the limits of ego, judgmentalism, and materialism; unshackled from the bondage of small-mindedness into an expansive awareness of the sacred that holds both the memory and the promise of eternity.