Shabbat Renewal

June 7, 2013

Shabbat for me has always been special, but of late, my liberal theology has made organized worship a difficult reality. Yet Shabbat in  Israel has lifted me beyond that conflict. Just to be in Israel…Perhaps it is the very land itself.

Two Shabbatot before today I was in Jerusalem and thus able to worship at my favorite congregation, Kol HaNeshama. I kvelled to be there once again and know the sense of Shabbat particular to me in that community.


Graves of David and Paula Ben Gurion, Sde Boker

Graves of David and Paula Ben Gurion, Sde Boker


This week’s Kabbalat Shabbat was preceded by visits to the desert and discussions of the giving of the Torah.  We visited Kibbutz Revivim and heard its inspirational history;  our little band went to Wadi Zin and, ultimately, to the graves of Paula and David Ben Gurion. We confronted the magnificent vistas of the wadi and felt the transience of human life.   With the presence of this majesty we offered our prayers.

At Sde Boker’s Kabbalat Shabbat, we heard a different and lovely melody for L’cha Dodi,  While each of us dealt with our personal sense of the Divine , all of us were moved, I believe, by the sights and by the subliminal message of the individual’s finitude in the face of the Eternal.

What a moment, what a day, what an entrance to Shabbat and all of it within one-half hour of Yeruham.

Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Larry Halpern

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