Shabbat and Healing
This Shabbat, our programs are hosting two of our largest events of the year, the JACS Spiritual Weekend Retreat and the Bikur Cholim Coordinating Councils Annual Conference. To honor this weekend, we are sharing this month with you an excerpt from our publication, The Outstretched Arm. This edition is addresses Shabbat and Healing.
What do these commandments suggest about the healing dimensions of Shabbat?
Toasting Recovery Through Shabbat
The Talmud (toward the end of Pesachim) teaches "Remember "Remember (the Shabbat) over wine," the halachic source for Kiddush. But what if you are an alcoholic and your recovery requires that wine be abjured? While obviously one can fulfill the mitzvah with grape juice, how can one fulfill the spirit of "Remembering Shabbat over wine?"
When I attended this past winters JACS retreat, I heard the heart wrenching stories of people struggling with various addictions, the terrible effects on their families. And I heard how they found Jewish spiritual strength guiding their recovery.
For me, the most poignant moment was during the inspired dancing after Havdalah. About halfway through I broke down in tears. I have led celebratory Havdalahs before but this was different. These wonderful individuals, using the wisdom of the Torah and the 12-step movement, were somehow able to overcome the horrors they had experienced and celebrate Shabbat and life. They were truly able to Remember the Shabbat, but not with wine. And let us remember those among us who are in recovery!
Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, DMin., Chaplain
Caregiving: Doing and Not Doing
The Rabbis interpret shamor and zachor to represent the two faces of Shabbat. Zachor/Remember represents the things we actively do to make Shabbat, like lighting candles, saying Kiddush or resting. Shamor/Keep represents what we dont do and as a result, Shabbat comes into being, such as not working or not using money. In the same way, shamor and zachor represent the two faces of caregiving. Zachor/Remember represents the things we actively do as caregivers driving, giving medicine, making appointments, personal care, etc .Shamor/Keep represents what we dont do not running away, not taking out our frustration on those closest to us or not swearing under our breadth and as a result, our love, our reason for caregiving is manifest.
Holy One of Blessings, you showed your love for us by giving us Shabbat, both shamor and zachor. May You bless all of us who are caregivers with strength to show our love for those we care for by finding the balance between what we do and what we dont do.
Malka Young, LICS, Director, Healing Partners
These "Spirituality Notes" are excerpts from our monthly E-newsletter. Articles are © JBFCS Rita J. Kaplan Jewish Connections Programs and may be reprinted free of charge as long as this credit line is included.