Elul 6 5776
Today, we are publishing a double love letter for your double super Sabbath souls. Wishing you a restful, peaceful, and love-ful Sabbath. Be back on Sunday!
It’s early morning here in Sussex, I’m sitting at the window seat of this sweet little cottage, looking at the lush lawns and the sun rising, with a biscuit dipped in a cup of tea, wishing you were here looking with me at this gorgeous oh so British view. You’d sigh with pleasure and bless the day.
I leave this conference and the manor house today to go to London for Shabbat, to visit your brother and my cousins, to step again back into the world you left so many years ago. When I was a child we’d come back to London in the summers, to visit your parents and our extended family. I felt like I belonged here, in your motherland, talking in my mother tongue with a perfect British accent, Winnie the Pooh, Kit Kat, the changing of the guards. But mostly I remember the heath and the lawns and the parks and the sweet peas and roses- that hundreds years old sense of British wildlife beauty that I’ve come to love so much. Thanks to you.
On this Sabbath Eve, the sixth day of this Elul journey and the first Shabbat of this 40 day period of focus, I’ll pick a bunch of flowers in this meadow for the Sabbath Queen and take them with to London, wishing I could give them to you in Jerusalem, with blessings for your healing and recovery, and for many more mornings spent together with tea and sea and perfect views and blessings.
Thank you for giving me live, love, so much beauty and so many reasons to wake up every day and be grateful for being alive.
It’s a good day to pause and thank a parent, give someone you love some flowers, sip good tea and bless this day. Sabbath peace.
Elul 7 5776
The country I’m now visiting has a queen on every stamp and mailbox but today I want to honor you - a sovereign not of space but of time. Oh Sabbath Queen, a mythic entity with no face or features, manifesting sacred time itself, ancient goddess evolved as energy, as the essence of being, emerging each week for just 24 hours of life as it should be, upgraded, refined.
One can argue, as even the prophet Isaiah did, that the Sabbath is the best gift of the Jews for the healthy human being toolbox - a gift to ourselves and to the world. I was taught to welcome You with starched white shirt and fresh flowers, a festive feast with the best silver and china, songs and blessings and even a nap. These days I make a point of unplugging my phone when you arrive, as one does when one sits with a loved, important guest who demands my full attention.
On this day, the 7th on the journey to best self, I welcome you with gratitude for your existence and I ask for your forgiveness. There were some times this past year when you arrived and I did not welcome you with the respect that’s due, letting life and work and stress take over or prioritizing some deadline or distraction over the simple sacred joys of letting go and just being present.
I take upon myself to welcome you each week this coming year with more consistent intention - not because I am commanded but because I want to, need to, value you and the seductive pleasure of your presence in my life.
What will Sabbath look like in the year ahead? what old/new practices can we all share with each other to help us be the regal selves we long for all week long?
Shabbat Shalom, Our Majesty.
PREPENT: Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s annual journey to the new year, with 40 ways in 40 days to reflect, refocus, recharge and restart life. This year features daily love letters inspired by Lab/Shul’s theme for the High Holy Days, “וְאָהַבְתָּ re:love.”