At a recent Bar Mitzvah Havdalah service, something incredible happened. As a song leader, it’s what you hope for and when it happens, the feeling stays for days.
I set up my guitar and music while the DJ told everyone to come up to the front. People gathered in a large circle and the family of the young man of honor lit the special candle we use. Suddenly, everything became quiet and even though there were lights in the room and lights outside the windows, it seemed like the only light in the world was that candle.
The service was briefly explained for those who were unfamiliar with Havdalah and we began to sing the blessings. Now, I only knew a few people at the party. Aside from the family of the young man and the other congregants from our Synagogue, there were many people I had never met. And yet when we all joined in that circle, there were no strangers. It was a family in one amazing instant.
As we finished singing the prayers and the candle was doused, we moved into the tune for Eliyahu. Everyone’s voices were so strong and I stopped playing so that I could hear them more. There was so much kavanah. We sang a heartfelt farewell to Shabbat and called for Elijah the Prophet and the Mashiach, son of David.
The idea of separation from Shabbat is powerful. It is a day that is so important and so special that our Creator commanded the Jewish people to stop everything and observe it. It is a day that, like the people Israel, is set apart. It is the day in which the Eternal chose to rest and asked that Israel do the same. We set down our tools and take the same day of rest as the one who created everything. How fortunate are we to have Shabbat every single week, forever.
It was an honor and a privilege to be part of another one and to share it with so many friends.