Take the Old and Make it New, Take the New and Make it Holy
Editor’s Note: Rabbi Sommer’s 6-year-old son, Sammy, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. She is blogging her family’s story at Superman Sam.
That title above (a little longer than a usual blog title), is one of my favorite Jewish ideas.
We are always looking at “old” things and bringing them into a new day.
Then we are tasked with bringing holiness into each new day, new idea, new plan.
About two years ago, I learned to do a six-strand braided challah.
It makes perfect sense to me to braid six strands, one for each member of my family.
I braid in the love each week.
On Thursday night, I baked challah. I usually do it on Friday, but I knew that I was headed up to the hospital to spend Shabbat with Sam, and I wanted to take a challah with me. My regular recipe, from my friend Ruth Ross, makes two challot, but often I only bake one and freeze the second batch or make a set of cinnamon rolls for Shabbat morning. As I divided the dough in half and started rolling the strands, I realized how precious this shared challah was going to be.
Six strands, representing the members of our family, one batch split into two challot, eaten separately but spiritually together.
An old ritual – making challah.
Now made new by circumstances that I never ever imagined.
But yet, we find holiness, even in the newness.
In the darkness, we find light.
Even if it’s only a piece of bread, it brings comfort.
If we don’t look for the light, we’re going to end up sitting in the dark.
So we eat challah and salt it with our tears….
Originally posted at Ima On (And Off) the Bima