Tanslation by Yehoshua Siskin
Yesterday I heard someone say: “Throughout the week we sat at home and did nothing so what’s the big deal this week about Shabbat? The whole week was one long Shabbat.”
If Shabbat is only about sitting around and doing nothing – she’s right. But in my opinion she is mistaken. All week they kept telling us no – no to buses, no to flights, no to schools, no to coffee shops. You can’t do this and you can’t do that. There is no doubt that the coronavirus struck us hard during the week. But this evening we have Shabbat. Now is the time to see what we have and to what we can say yes. Yes to Shabbat candles, yes to kiddush, yes to a special dinner, yes to a unique family feeling. No to 24 hours where most of them are spent scrolling ceaseless and frightening news briefs; yes to 24 hours that are completely different, when it is possible to disconnect – in order to connect.
This is a historical Shabbat. I do not know if in the entire history of the Jewish people so many synagogues were closed, so many people could not say Kaddish, could not read the Torah, could not bless the month of Nissan that begins next week. We need to strictly follow the unfortunate quarantine measures with utmost seriousness, but it appears that our mission this Shabbat is to bring the holiness of the synagogue – now standing empty – into the living room and the kitchen. Shabbat shalom.