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How Do We Create Sacred Time in Our Everyday Lives?

Posted on 04/26/2013 @ 08:11 PM

This week, we read from the weekly portion, Emor, which discusses the laws and customs of the Biblical festivals, the sacred times in the Jewish calendar. Apart from the holidays, without their majesty and awe-inspiring ceremonies, how do we create sacred time in our everyday lives?

Recently I had the opportunity to see the movie ‘42’ the story of Jackie Robinson, the first Black baseball player to join the Major League. The I time spent watching ‘42’ was undoubtedly sacred, demonstrated by two powerful scenes. First, when Jackie Robinson asks Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, why he is trying to integrate baseball, Mr. Rickey responds that at one point in his life, he had a chance to help someone who was being oppressed yet he didn't. By helping to integrate baseball, he was making up for a time when he didn't do what he felt he should have done. Second, there is a scene where a player makes a comment to Jackie that perhaps someday everyone will wear number 42 and no one will be able to tell the players apart. What a sacred time it will be when we don't judge someone by their sexuality, gender, color, religion, or creed!

Both of these anecdotes reminded me of what makes my time sacred. When I can reach out and help someone in need, when I can give my time somewhere and really make difference, when I encourage people to get along with each other or simply say a kind word to someone else, I feel that I have both experienced and helped someone else experience a sacred moment. We often wait for these moments to occur, but I believe that this week's Torah portion charges us with the responsibility to make these moments happen for ourselves and for others.

We are taught in Mishnah Sanhedrin, that if we save one life we save an entire world. What an incredible statement about the value of a making a difference in the life of even one person. The entertainers, Seals and Crofts provide us a model when they sing, "we may never pass this way again...." Since we may never pass this way again, let us promise that when we see an opportunity to make a difference, we will seize it!

May your Shabbat this week by a holy and sacred time for you.

This Shabbat message was written by Rabbi Bruce Aft, spiritual leader of Adat Reyim in Springfield, VA, and long-time International Kallah teacher.

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