“Comfort, comfort My people, nachamu nachamu ami” (Isaiah 40:1). The prophet Isaiah offered these simple but profound words from God to the Jewish people after the Temple was destroyed and all hope seemed lost. For Isaiah, comfort existed in the belief that a better day was coming and in the certainty that good would triumph over evil. Today, many of us struggle to find meaning during illness, death, divorce, violence, and even natural disasters. While we may long for something as unwavering as Isaiah’s faith, few of us have that. So we search for tools to help us confront the truth of hardship and begin the process of healing. If we withdraw into our own private pain, ritual has the power to pull us out. It connects us with community—however large or small—and provides us with the hope, love, and wisdom others can offer. As we build new rituals for healing and hard times, Isaiah’s ancient words remind us that we can find great comfort among people and in actions that support and soothe, even if they don’t solve.
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