The Sabbath, the most precious of times

    January 2010            
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Sacred Time

By Tad Campbell © 2009. All rights reserved

I'd like us to think about an often overlooked aspect of Creation, that of G-d's time. As the Talmud says, "it is we who make the ordinary become something quite extraordinary." The everyday grind of concrete and steel, noise and chaos stops as the fading sun illumines our soul, resting our minds upon the comforting pillow of the Shabbat.

And for those 24 hours, we walk with the angels to the sacred tune of our heartbeats, upon wings of G-d's immeasurable love for each of us. But what is G-d's time? Is it measured in ticking moments or rising suns? Or is it something much more?

Perhaps a gentle reminder to make every moment count. Filling it with all we are in this single breath, what some call "the now." We use phrases such as "time will tell," or "give it time," but do such moments really arrive? We often speak of the ever-approaching someday, but it is far closer than any of us even know.

When? Where? Right now, in the next step we take, for in this single second we are celebrating all we are in the present, not behind fences the world, others, or our own fears build to hold back our potential. These are what keep us safely from achieving and embracing the infinite love G-d holds for each of us. Here, in the now.

In my years of learning and study, I held before me a self-proclaimed goal. And just as in our jobs, family obligations, and the everyday pressures of living in this non-stop society, any of us can lose our way. So too, did I.

The Sabbath, the most precious of times, silences the noise, bringing to the soul's ear that still small voice who speaks our names with a sweet and inviting lullaby. And here before kindled lights, our Torah, and the priceless wonder of those gathered around, we all share in heaven's sweet song.

During these recent months as I drew one step closer to celebrating my ultimate dream of serving the Jewish people in the land of Israel, after years of research and exams, my life was changed with a single piece of paper. In its words, I have faced my greatest challenge, that of my prognosis of incurable cancer. But my neshamah, my soul, will forever soar on wings of light. Timeless and alive.

Do not be sad or even afraid, because we live by the clock of sacred and holy time. Some live only a few years, others decades, but what truly measures our worth is the joy we share. In each single second, every step along our individual and collective journey, we have the blessing of becoming one with the universe and with our G-d who created it all. Perfectly. Completely. For each of you, and perhaps as well for my sometimes confused and wondering mind. But here there is joy. In my honest pursuit of a life measured not by what I learned in graduate school, but in the simple mitzvoth in which I pass each tick of the clock.

Life is an ever-unfolding pathway and it is not ours to know the story, rather, to pause each moment, find the holiness of the Sabbath within, and welcome the awe of G-d's perfect time. Any hour or any day. A time measured in laughter, chutzpah, and love. The exact love you my family gently share with me. I pray, in some small way, I have loved you in return.

Today is a celebration of joy for us all, for we share this single step blanketed in the treasure of G-d's magnificent and expansive love. The Torah tells us "Choose life or death; but I ask you to choose life." May you choose life with each smile, every tear, and the single steps you take. Pursuing with passion and joy your timeless call of a lifetime.

Tad Campbell made aliyah this past July where he writes and lives in Tel Aviv. You can read his poetry and expressions at:


from the January 2010 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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