The ninth of Av, Tisha b’Av is a particularly difficult time for the Jewish people. Throughout our history, Tisha b’Av represents a time of great sorrow, tragedy and insecurity. Tisha b’Av is followed by ShabbatShabbat is the Sabbath day, the Day of Rest, and is observed from Friday night through Saturday night. Is set aside from the rest of the week both in honor of the fact that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. On Shabbat, many Jews observe prohibitions from various activities designated as work. Shabbat is traditionally observed with festive meals, wine, challah, prayers, the reading and studying of Torah, conjugal relations, family time, and time with friends. Nakhamu, the Sabbath of Comfort, and is a time when we meditate on our individual and collective losses, pain and healing. The Sabbath of Comfort can bring us comfort on both the collective and individual levels. It is said that the ShekhinahThe feminine name of God, expounded upon in the rabbinic era and then by the Kabbalists in extensive literature on the feminine attributes of the divine. is always near to one who needs healing. And so the Shekhinah is always near to us in our times of sorrow, tragedy and insecurity—those times in which we are in great need of collective and individual healing. This meditation is inspired by two Biblical passages and calls to mind the presence of the Shekhinah in our lives.
“Safe and sound, I lie down and sleep, for You alone keep me secure.” (Psalm 4:9)
” ‘Comfort, oh comfort, My people,’ says your God.” (Isaiah 40:1)
See yourself standing at your bedroom window looking out at the night sky. See the light of the moon and stars. Now see yourself settling into your bed as you prepare to sleep. As you close your eyes, you feel a warm blanket of angel wings covering you. You hear the sound of an angel lullaby—soft, soothing, gentle. You feel the presence of a beautiful cloud of light floating like a canopy above you.
This is the Light of Shekhinah. Feel this light slowly descend over you. Feel this light wrap around you like a beautiful quilt—surrounding you, embracing you, protecting you—when you are most vulnerable—keeping you safe throughout the night. No matter how dark the night is, Shekhinah is always there for you, whispering “nakhamu, nakhamu, comfort, comfort” as She wraps you in Her quilt of sparkling light—as She holds you in Her arms of infinite kindness, absolute, safety, security, peace.