Honorable Mensch-ion


This week was marked by doubles. I attended a shiva in between brit milah ceremonies.
Each ceremony was filled with tears. The mohel explained we wait until the 8th day for a bris in order for the baby to experience a perfect Shabbat. As the parents explained the name of the child, tears flowed down their cheeks, invoking the additional soul that was brought back into this world.

And at the house of mourning, tears of grief and laughter were shared-remembering the physical presence that was lost, but cognizant of the soul that was truly present. I witnessed this family, encompassed by a communal embrace, a legacy that includes children, grandchildren, so many friends and community members.

The midrash tells us that the Shabbat once came before God to complain that her offering, two lambs, is the smallest out of all the festival days. God answered that the offering for Shabbat is in fact most appropriate, since the day is marked by doubles; two portions of manna fell in the wilderness, two loaves of challah on our Shabbat table, we both observe and guard Shabbat. Shabbat is known as a delight and an honored day.

Shabbat is rooted in the physical and spiritual. Shabbat is a reminder that God built the world, and rested on the seventh day. And at the same time, Shabbat is a semblance of the World To Come. The Talmud teaches us that we are granted a neshama yeteirah, an additional soul, on Shabbat.

Which extra soul will you be given this Shabbat? Which soul that will allow you turn your wailing into dancing, your sackcloth into a robe of joy?

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