July 14, 2011: Shabbat Shalom

Perhaps the most striking thing about the lives of Orthodox Jews  is the weekly Shabbat — Sabbath. A complicated set of rules and traditions governs every aspect of our lives from the time the sun sets on Friday evening until the appearance of stars on Saturday night.

While it may look like a period of restrictions — no work, driving, telephoning, sending e-mails, Facebooking, etc, the reality is that it is a time of communal celebration. While you could say that the prayer service in the synagogue is the most important part of Shabbat, I would argue that the festive meals we have with friends and family is just as central, if not more.

We have always enjoyed special Shabbatot (Sabbaths.)  And in a few hours, we will once again begin this weekly ritual that the Jewish people have maintained for as long as there has been a Jewish people. We will see good friends and relish in each other’s company. We will take a break from work, school, and maybe even a break from cancer. I want to think about roasted chicken now, not chemotherapy.

The real war begins on Monday. We are finally going to be fully engaged fighting the cancer that has sent our lives into chaos. It is almost a sense of relief that we can start firing back and killing some cancer.  It’s really hard being so pissed off at something that you can’t do anything about. So now we can begin to kick cancer in the ass.

Stella will start chemo on Monday and together we will deal with any of the side effects that accompany the “good” poison of chemo that is used to fight the “bad” poison of cancer. We are nervously prepared as any soldier getting ready to leap into enemy territory and do what needs to be done.

It will most be likely be a difficult and scary week.

And I am not sure how great we will be feeling next Shabbat.

But I’m not going to worry about next Shabbat now. We have this Shabbat to look forward to now.

So with that in mind, we wish all our friends, from Canada to Australia and everywhere in between, the traditional wishes for this holy day.

May everyone have a Shabbat Shalom, a Sabbath of Peace.

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