Warmest Wishes for Winter Solstice and Shabbat Shalom!
Winter Solstice has long been one my favorite holidays. Truth be told, I don't do well with the cold and darkness of the winter season, but there is something hopeful to me that in once we get through to Winter Solstice - the shortest day and the longest night of the year - the days will once again get a little bit longer. The knowledge that the days will grow longer, even if just by a minute per day, helps me psychologically. I am not alone in this feeling. This time of year can be incredibly difficult for many people. Read more about the Talmud's take on Seasonal Affective Disorder on my website.
One of my favorite quotes for Winter Solstice comes from the TV show Northern Exposure. This show was a Tasman family favorite growing up and has special resonance for me since I served as the rabbi of a small Jewish community in Fairbanks, AK in the summer of 2011. I felt much more at home than Dr Joel Fleishman in the TV show. In the show, one winter, Chris Stevens, who is at once a disc jockey, preacher, poet and, artist, creates an enormous sculpture in the town square out of all of the lights he can find. His opening kavannah (words of intention), which is one of my favorite quotes, reads as follows:
Goethe's final words: "More light." Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that's been our unifying cry: "More light." Sunlight. Torchlight. Cande light. Neon. Incandescent. Lights that banish the darkness from our caves, to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the night games at Soldier's field. Little tiny flashlights for those books we read under the covers when we're supposed to be asleep. Light is more than watts and footcandles. Light is metaphor. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." "Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on!" "The night is dark, and I am far from home." "Lead Thou me on! Arise, shine, for thy light has come." Light is knowledge. Light is life. Light is light.
Wishing you and your families light, warmth, connection, hope, healing, and joy.
Warmest wishes, Shabbat Shalom, and all my best for a bright 2019,
Rabbi Sarah Tasman