My mother always reminds me that a synagogue should be a place to pray and to play. A sacred space may not be only filled with serious moments of introspection and soul searching. Inversely, the places we frequent in our everyday lives garner the opportunity to bring the holy into the ordinary. This morning, I visited a young family who put up their first mezuzah in their home. As I showed them the shema on the parchment that was put into the mezuzah, the parents told their young daughter—this is the prayer that we say when we ask God to keep us safe.
The Torah relates to us that our forefather Isaac went out to meditate in the field. The Rabbis interpret this as Isaac went to pray, and from there, derived our mincha, afternoon service.
Our tradition gifts us with two types of prayer, keva and kavana, fixed prayer and intentional moments of holiness. It is apparent that we need both.
The words of the shema are the tools that enable us to find other moments of connection with God. As we walk into our homes, we kiss the mezuzah to remind us to live our lives with the proper intention when no one is watching, and we kiss the mezuzah on the way out to prepare us to meet the challenges and bring the blessings of our home into the world we face.
Sacred spaces are not solely defined by what they look like. Rather, it is what we do in the places we frequent that have the ability to create the sacred spaces we seek out.
This coming week, on Thanksgiving, our tables become sacred. We share gratitude with the ones we love on a day of reflection. Thankfully, our ancestors did not wait for special days to express this gratitude. They found daily moments, three times a day, to thank, to bless, to wonder in the world of our creator.