Separation and Integration

In the Havdala ceremony, we say "Who separated between the holy and the profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of Creation."

The separation between Shabbat and the weekdays is not absolute. Our ideal is that through experiencing Shabbat, we enter the week and transform it. As is our Shabbat, so is our six days.

Perhaps we can also apply that to the category "Between Israel and the nations." We do not want to be isolated and separated. We want, from within our experience as Jews, to enter and be with our non-Jewish friends, carrying our Jewish experience there, and having it transform our interactions and shine a light upon others.

Let's remember that just as the six days of the week play an important role in our lives and make Shabbat what it is, and we cannot just live in Shabbat, so too we must live in the broader world, the arena where we play our our full historical purpose, and transform it from within our concentrated Jewish life.

The analogy I think of is of Judaism as being like apple juice concentrate. On its own, it is much too strong and barely drinkable. Its true delicate flavour emerges when mixed and diluted with water. From this perspective, the - or a significant - purpose of Judaism was to be mixed with the culture of the world, and to produce beautiful things through this synthesis.


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