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June 15, 2012 / Rabbi Laura

Pre-Shabbat Reflection 1

This Shabbat I am thinking about transitions, beginnings and endings. So much to be grateful for this Shabbat. So much to pray about this Shabbat.

– both my children are home. School has ended for the year. Summer vacation has begun. We have been so busy the last several weeks. I am making Shabbat dinner — challah too — at home for our whole family for the first time since Passover.  Our table will be set for 4 which for us is a number of wholeness. 

– new life came into the world today. I am so happy for our dear friends who became grandparents for the first time today.  Mazel tov to Marissa and Joey and their beautiful baby boy Braxton Lev.  I can’t wait to celebrate with them as we welcome Braxton into the Jewish community at his bris.

– this week Max finished middle school and my honeybun, Shayna (my niece) graduated from preschool. Where does the time go!? I am so proud of them as they embark on their new educational adventures of high school and kindergarten in the fall. They have both, each in their own way, grown so much this year.

– Friends and colleagues, Rabbis Phyllis and Michael Sommer found out this week that their young son Sam has leukemia.  They are a loving and strong family. I am praying that Sam will find refuah sh’leimah (complete healing) very soon!  Join me in following their blog Superman Sam and praying for their family.

– Friends and colleagues across the country are making transitions in their lives – moving synagogues, moving homes. Today’s Facebook feed was filled with news about “final Shabbats” and good wishes for new journeys. As we approach the 1 year anniversary of our own move to a new community, I empathize, I sympathize and I remember the bittersweet memories of those moments.

This Shabbat we read Parshat Shelach Lecha, beginning at Number 13:1.  This too is a time of transition for the Israelites.  Almost ready to enter in to the Promised Land, Moses sends scouts out into Canaan.  Many of the scouts return with reports of giants and foreign tribes who would overcome the Israelites. These scouts have lost their faith in God; they succumb to fear and the unknown.  God sees this and punishes them. Joshua and Caleb, leaders of the scouting party, on the other hand, submit a different report to Moses and the community.  They remain optimistic, faithful in God’s promise that the Israelites would inhabit the land God had given to Abraham their forefather.

This Shabbat is a time of transition for us all. For some of us it is a significant transition, like a graduation, a new diagnosis or a new phase of life. For others, we may simply be ending a work week, looking forward to a relaxing Shabbat and weekend. Regardless of the gravity of our transitions today, may we all be like Joshua and Caleb — grateful for our blessings, optimistic in the face of fear and change and the unknown, faithful in God.

Shabbat shalom.

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