Please enjoy a d’var Torah this week by Adina Romaner. Adina is graduating this week from Indiana University-Bloomington with a degree in Law & Public Policy. She is currently quarantining in Dallas, Texas and plans to attend law school in the fall. Adina has attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin every summer since Solelim and looks forward to returning for her 4th year on tzevet as Rosh Ruach Ramah and Kochavim!
Finding Magic in the Mundane: Reflections on Parashat Emor
by Adina Romaner
Parashat Emor focuses on a plethora of rules given to the Israelites from God. Buried among these rules is one pasuk (verse) stating that the seventh day should be a Day of Rest:
:שֵׁ֣שֶׁת יָמִים֘ תֵּֽעָשֶׂ֣ה מְלָאכָה֒ וּבַיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י שַׁבַּ֤ת שַׁבָּתוֹן֙ מִקְרָא־קֹ֔דֶשׁ כָּל־מְלָאכָ֖ה לֹ֣א תַֽעֲשׂ֑וּ שַׁבָּ֥ת הִוא֙ לַֽיהֹוָ֔ה בְּכֹ֖ל מֽוֹשְׁבֹֽתֵיכֶֽם
“[For] six days, work may be performed, but on the seventh day, it is a complete rest day, a holy occasion; you shall not perform any work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.” (Leviticus 23:3)
The chapter quickly moves on to discuss other rules and specific dates for holidays, seemingly gliding over the immense importance of Shabbat. In these times of social distancing and working and learning from home, Shabbat might not always feel like a break from our everyday routine. We may glance over Shabbat with the only change being that we switch from watching Netflix to reading a book, but that is not how we should choose to use this time. Instead, we should think of Shabbat the way we think of camp, as the incredibly special and holy experience we crave for ten months out of the year. Camp serves as its own Shabbat, a break from the normal and a time when the stresses of homework and errands can fade away.
While at camp, we spend Shabbat together by the lake and spread out on the kikar learning and laughing with friends, making sure that we find a way to mark Shabbat as special. Although this summer we may not be able to relax on the kikar or welcome Shabbat on the lower kikar, we should still find ways to make that time special. Just because we cannot sit on a bench with our friends and family in Conover, Wisconsin, that does not mean we should not do the very same in each of our hometowns. If Shabbat services by the lake are what makes Shabbat at camp so special for you, try creating your own service for your family in the backyard. If a Shabbat walk has been on your mind, go for a walk around your neighborhood. If you are craving a post-lunch Shabbat nap, go for it! Shabbat at camp is magical, but the physical location makes up just a part of that enchantment. The rest of that magic lies in the way we choose to spend our time and the people we spend it with.
During these ever-changing and unknown times, each of us needs a break, a Shabbat, to reflect on the things that are important to us and give ourselves a reprieve from the stresses of everyday life. Camp would usually serve as that pause, but instead I choose to focus on the opportunity to find the magic that surrounds camp every week on Shabbat. By continuing to make Shabbat a special time, every week feels like I am sitting by the lake with the people I love most.