On Saturday night (Jan 21), Preschool families gathered for Havdallah in Pajamas, with Rabbi Greenstein and myself. We always schedule this beautiful ceremony for a cold, winter night, which allows for more preschool families to attend before they start tucking their children into bed for the night.
With children running around in their jammies, the scene was set for some adorable photos. However, what sticks out in my mind even more, was the fact that this sweet and serene ceremony is always experienced for the first time each year by a new family. They might come out of curiosity, or simply because they know a friend will also be there. However, the magic of havdallah brings everyone together in a matter of minutes.
Whether it is the light from the beautiful candle, the sweet scents of the spice box, or the taste of grape juice, everyone enjoys a peaceful few minutes together as a community. The idea of havdallah, of marking the end of Shabbat with a true separation as we enter a new week, really speaks to our families. It is so easy to quickly move from one task to the next, or one birthday party filled weekend to the next, but havdallah allows us all to breathe in a moment unlike any other. A moment when we are neither here nor there. A moment when we simply gather to mark time and appreciate those around us.
Every year, as we pack away the fun crafts set out for post-havdallah fun at the end of the night, families come up to me and truly thank me. I like to think they felt the same thing I did, as we gathered in the darkened Shomrei lobby to enjoy a moment apart from the rest of the week. I like to think that for a few moments, they felt utterly connected to our Jewish tradition and to one another. We are all in this hectic race together, and it is all too powerful when we find a space in time to reconnect and appreciate that we are all apart of something much bigger than ourselves.
Shavua Tov, a good and sweet week to all!