Light and Dark and the Shabbat

May 23, 2014

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, May 23, 2014.

Light and Dark and the Shabbat

Light and Dark figure in so totally for the Sabbath. After all, the Jewish day starts at sunset, so Shabbat begins just as the daylight turns to darkness. There’s even a prayer about it in the evening prayers on Shabbat (and weekdays, actually):

Blessed are you, Adonai... who with a word mixes the evening... The Creator of Day and Night rolls in the light before the darkness and darkness before the night.

Just as the day is framed by the separation of light and darkness, it’s framed as well with lighting the Sabbath candles on Friday nights, and lighting the multi-wick Havdalah candle which praises God for dividing between light and darkness.

Light is one of the most powerful symbols known to humankind. It’s featured in the account of creation in the Torah: Light is created in the very first day of creation, yet the sun, the moon, and the stars aren’t created until the fourth day! Light is a symbol of civilization and enlightenment. Light, for many of us, is a symbol of wayfinding, of our personal journeys.

For the last year, the artists of the Milwaukee Jewish Artists’ Laboratory have been exploring “light” in every possible context. Their exploration and deliberation is the focus of this year’s exhibit. We are excited about this great and diverse exhibit.

Click here for more information.

Shabbat Shalom