The Hush from Jerusalem

Jerusalem is getting ready for Shabbat. The stores are closing and people are making their preparations for the hush that comes with the setting of the sun. Since it is summer it doesn’t come til later but people were so busy this morning shopping, getting food and flowers and all the fixins’ for a day without commerce.

No where in the world is Shabbat like here in Jerusalem. Yes there is a bit more activity than 30 years ago.  You can get a taxi, there are a couple of other places to have lunch other than the YMCA (which used to be the only place other than east Jerusalem) and the shouk is still open. But for the most part Jerusalem goes still.  A hush comes over the city.

If you are not used to it–the quiet can be unsettling. Hence several books about Silence and its disturbing effects on people like George Prochnick’s book, “In Pursuit of Silence” and Sara Maitland’s book “A Book of Silence“.  But I think it is transforming. And isn’t that the point of Shabbat! To transform ourselves from the go-getter to a human just being. Being present to self, family and God.  Being open to all that and more.  Allowing the flow of  life to pulse through you rather than always pushing the envelope and carefully executing the balancing act that is required by most of us to make it through each day. 

And the forces of the world want you to do more and be more. While Shabbat is an antidote to all that and more. 

So I wish you a Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem and a bit of the hush from here in your life.

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2 thoughts on “The Hush from Jerusalem

  1. Thank you for this view from Jerusalem.

    I like the silence, and I am long a believer in its gifts, especially in the world of music…

    http://www.amazon.com/Silence-Lectures-Writings-John-Cage/dp/0819560286/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278079218&sr=8-1

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4%E2%80%B233%E2%80%B3

    I think, however, we need to be aware that in other contexts we might find the “restrictions” of Jerusalem oppressive and call them “Blue Laws”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_law

  2. I love the way life transforms on Shabbat here. I create a different Shabbat experience for myself when I’m in Jerusalem than back in the States. For the dozen or so Shabbats a year I am here, I soak up every type of Shabbat experience I can. It’s spiritual in a way I can really describe. It’s different and yet it feels so natural. I wish every Jew who wanted to, could experience just one Shabbat in Jerusalem. You’ll never be the same.

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