(This is an updated version of a musing first written in 2000.)
All around him were sadness, troubles, and pain. His father had been willing to kill him before G”d intervened. His mother was now dead (not that she had done anything to dissuade his father.) He had been so disconnected from his parents that he chose to live apart for them for many years. His father, with no wife to bother anymore, had set his sights on finding a wife for him. His father had sent his servant back to his father’s old homeland, in hopes of finding a good wife for him from their clan. Everything to be unhappy about. All the ingredients for depression and a sad, weary life.
Then, into this sea of sadness and discontent comes a woman, hidden behind a veil, a bride. He symbolically took and bedded her in his mother’s tent. He took her and loved her and found comfort in her.
All around us are sadness, troubles, pain. We work hard to support ourselves. sometimes we work too hard and too long to try and forget the troubles in our lives.. We have bad days-and we cause bad days for others. People try to hurt us for unfathomable reasons. We have our differences with our parents. We lose loved ones.
His life after that may not have been the best life. He and his wife may not have turned out to be any better parents to their children this his parents were for him. However, she was enough for him to find a way through his pain and sadness, and live again.
Into our sea of discontent there too comes a veiled bride. Every week. We too should take her and espouse her, love her and find comfort in her. Come, beloved, come great the bride-let us welcome Shabbat.
After losing Sarah, Abraham took another wife. We, too, will lose our weekly Shabbat bride as the flame of the twisted candle is extinguished. Yet, as our ancestor Abraham did, we too will be able to take another bride. Each week we marry anew. Joseph Smith has nothing on us-although each of our brides – each Shabbat – is different, they are, in effect, all the same. Serial monogamy of a sort.
We should praise G”d that we are honored so with this weekly blessing.
We should watch, too, for the nameless servants of our G”d who, as did the nameless servant of Abraham, go out to seek our bride for us. They are out there, and yet we forget them. They are those in our lives who make sure that the Shabbat bride finds her way to us each week. We should thank them, for perhaps, without their help, our bride might not find her way to our homes. Or we might be too busy, to angry, to sad or hurt to see the bride standing there, waiting for us to wed her each week.
There is risk in any marriage. Even wedding the Shabbat bride brings with it its share of risk. The risk that we will lose her before there are again three stars in the sky. The risk that we will want her so much we would fear to ever part with her-thus depriving ourselves the chance to live and be part of this world, and continue to be G”d’s partner in the continuing creation. If every day of the week is like Shabbat, then what is the meaning of Shabbat?
But what relationship is without risk? This gift that G”d offers us each week-to wed the bride of Shabbat-we should not fear accepting it.
[To those among you unhappy with the male-dominated imagery, think of Shabbat as a groom if you prefer, or lover, or whatever. Just don’t pass up the opportunity to share in the relationship that G”d offers you each week.]
I go now to greet the bride of Shabbat. Go ye to to greet yours.
To each and every one of you and your loved ones a
© 2015 (portions ©2000) by Adrian A. Durlester
Other Musings on This Parasha
Hayyei Sarah 5774 – The Books of Hagar and Abishag
Hayyei Sarah 5773 – Still Tilting at Windmills
Hayyei Sarah 5772 – Zikhnah
Hayyei Sarah 5771 – The Book That Isn’t – Yet
Hayyei Sarah 5770 – Call Me Ishamel II
Hayyei Sarah 5769 – Looking for Clues
Hayyei Sarah 5768 – A High Price
Hayei Sarah 5767-Never Warm?
Chaye Sarah 5766-Semper Vigilans
Chaye Sarah 5763-Life Goes On
Chaye Sarah 5762-Priorities, Redundancies And Puzzles
Chayeh Sarah 5761-L’cha Dodi Likrat Kala
Hayyei Sarah 5760 – Call Me Ishmael
Chaye Sarah 5757-The Shabbat That Almost Wasn’t