Friday, July 15, 2011

Power Outages, Double Rainbows and The Gifts of Shabbat

I hope this finds you powered back up if you lost your ability to plug in this week as so many did (I was among the lucky who did not.) It's one thing to lose power for an hour or two; something so very different to lose it for days on end.

Since my house was gifted with a working refrigerator and outlets, ours was the go-to spot for our neighbors wanting to save groceries and charge their phones and laptops. I couldn't help but notice how a power outage gets people connecting in other ways. People get to talking. One friend described how during one of her many dark evenings, she lit and candle and sat quietly in her livingroom. Within a few moments, her college-age daughter entered the room and began to play her guitar. And together they sat like that for a long while. Moments, my friend said, she would have never had if the power hadn't gone out.

I've been thinking a lot about Shabbat recently. How to bring more of it into my life. Even when it isn't Shabbat. That moment between my friend and her daughter strikes me as one of those. Rarer now with so many ways for us to plug in.

Last Shabbat I was in Colorado with my family and after a short, light rain - at dusk - emerged a double rainbow. Regular business stopped. Out came our cell phone cameras. (The photo above is one of the results.) We lingered for a while, marveling at it.

Upon seeing a rainbow, the Hebrew prayer goes:

Barukh attah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam,

zokher haberit vene’eman bivrito v’kaiyam bema’amaro.

The rainbow was given to be “l’ot brit” [for a sign of the covenant] between the LORD and the earth] to keep it from destruction by deluge (Genesis 9:12-17).

I'm thinking about that double rainbow as the double blessing of the gift of Shabbat; the gifts of physical rest and psychic space. An entire day without humanmade light or power sources.

Shabbat Shalom.
Ellen Blum Barish
July 15, 2011

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