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06/05/2021 09:15:21 PM

Jun5

Rabbi Ari Lucas


"Blessed is the One who separates between holy and profane, light and dark, Israel and the other nations..."

It’s a familiar feeling, but one that I haven’t had in a while. As we mark the transition between Shabbat and the rest of the week over grape juice, sweet spices, and a flame, I think about the week ahead. What challenges, stresses, opportunities lie ahead and how I will greet them? I haven’t had a trip in over a year. Last-minute checklist items cross my mind and then I’m brought back to the light reflected in the eyes of those closest to me.

Havdallah helps with separation anxiety. As we prepare to leave the peaceful island of Shabbat, we remember the transformative power of rest and connection. And we strive to be cognizant of the underlying unity of it all - the Source of Life that sustains all existence, for Whom there is no difference between you and me, here and there, now and then.

The braided candle teaches a lesson - that in a world of dualities, Jews proclaim that there is a fundamental oneness. In God’s eyes, enemies are not different from one another, they’re all God’s children. But we don’t live in God’s realm. We live on this beautiful broken earth where divisions exist. Our mission is to bring this world incrementally closer to God's vision of unity and harmony - not flattening or erasing difference (heaven forbid), but seeing the ways in which our lives our interwoven and striving to make space for coexistence.

Tonight, as I prepare to leave for Israel with diverse colleagues to learn about the very real divisions within my people and between my people and another, I pray that I remember the interconnectedness of the braided havdallah candle and how when my light joins with another, the total light expands and the darkness is banished from our midsts.

God of good and all things, in whose light we see light, help me go in peace and return in peace and help me be an agent of peace between myself and my fellow. Amen.

May 18,2024 /  10 Iyyar 5784