A Shabbat Well-Earned


A Shabbat Well-Earned

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Some years ago, Rabbi Karff and I saw each other in the hallway at Temple and we began to catch up with each other, as we often did. First, a big hug, and then time to chat. He told me about his schedule and plans, and I told him about mine. He said he didn’t envy my schedule as he recalled it easily from his very active rabbinate. I replied that I envied his schedule in retirement. With a satisfying smile, he said to me, “You haven’t earned your Shabbat, yet.” “Touché,” I replied.

Today, I’m not much closer to my retirement, but I surely feel in my body that I’ve earned more than a day of Shabbat. My summer vacation is coming, and it will be a welcome diversion from last year’s summer, which I spent at home. My first stop will be Colorado, where I intend to be a veritable hermit focused on writing. The High Holy Days come early this year, on the evening of September 6th, which is Labor Day. Time in the mountains will inspire me. Cooler, thinner air, and beautiful scenery will lift my spirits and motivate me to study, write, and rest.

From Colorado, I’ll make my way to Chicago. My mother, who is very busy with many activities and volunteer obligations, welcomes any time I can spend with her. It’s been a hard year for her through the pandemic. At the same time, Lisa will visit her father in Tucson. It’s that time in our life when our children are grown, and our respective parents need us more than ever. It’s our pleasure to reserve these opportunities for meaningful visits that do us all much good.

Our daughter, Abby’s bachelorette party will be held this summer. All the girls in the family are coming here for the party. They told me that I’m not invited. So, my son, Adam, and I will travel to Providence, where my son, Jeremy, and my grandson live. It’ll be a boys’ weekend (no girls!), and I’ll get to spoil my grandson, who I haven’t seen since March 2020.

It’ll be a productive summer where mindfulness, family, solitude, and friendship, will be the only to-do items. When I return, I’ll have stories to tell. Maybe, like Rabbi Karff returned to talk about summer times in Charlevoix, I’ll tell you about a hike in the woods or a misadventure in the mountains. I’m still thinking about that elk that stared me down on the road one morning, and that death-defying drive up the mountain to Lenado. I’m not looking for a story, but it will likely happen when I least expect it.

Shabbat isn’t overrated. It’s truly a time to renew and replenish the body, mind, and soul. My retirement Shabbat is still ahead of me, and mine should only be half as productive as Rabbi Karff’s. But my summer Shabbat is coming, and I know that I need it. My plan includes writing to you each week, as a joyful expression of what the week has been, and what Shabbat can be for you and for me.

I’ll see you on the bimah, June 18th, and then again in August. Rabbi Scott, Rabbi Sataloff, and Cantor Kat Hastings, our visiting cantor, will be with you. Our Rabbis are always on-call and will respond to serve you.

 Wishing you summer rest and renewal; days and nights of well-being; and, Shabbat, each week, well-earned and blessed.


A Shabbat Well-Earned 3