The more common question is: what do you have to celebrate? Judaism, however, poses it more as ”why”…that you keep in mind how important it is to find ”what /who” to celebrate.
A key element to Judaism’s focus on time, and making it special, is a mandate to celebrate all of life’s blessings, as many as you can notice. This mandate to celebrate is partner to another Judaic principle that people have difficulty applying: notice what/who goes well. Praise what/who is praiseworthy. Focus, first, on what you like in someone. See and celebrate as many blessings as you can.
Imagine how you would feel, in focusing on positive thoughts and feelings in your interactions, in seeing and saying what is good, more than being critical.
The key is to turn from accepting these principles as ”interesting ideas” to applying them as practical applications, in typical situations. Perhaps, you liked the idea suggested, at the end of May’s Reflection, to come to B’nai Israel to celebrate the Gift of Torah on Shavuot, that June Sunday evening, a few weeks ago. You may have thought to come.
Those who did treated each other to rich and illuminating conversation: adults and kids, learning together, gleaning insights from Ethics of the Sages, inspiring one another.
All we lacked were enough Jewish people to allow the Barchu, official call to engage the Divine…call to prayer, and, the Kaddish, not just for mourners, more often to punctuate and contextualize key points in the flow of the service.
Is it possible that small attendance, at programs many profess to enjoy, is indicative of imbalance in areas of life you care deeply about? In this time of overwhelm, from so many areas of life, trying to keep up, it can be hard to have any room for noticing, let alone celebrating, the positives.
Whatever it takes, make time to sit down and write a list of what, and who are okay in your life circle. This is easier to do, when you have someone who agrees with these premises; it is easier to turn a good idea into a done deal when you have someone to share the energy as the adventure unfolds.
With all the negatives that can keep you from being and doing your best, you are blessed with a value system that acknowledges life’s struggles, disappointments and stresses, and offers ways and strategies to minimize them and alter their impact on your overall wellbeing. The antidote: find something to celebrate, and someone with whom to celebrate, and infuse yourselves with life’s positive energy.
That is the intent of the Sabbath, beyond its restrictive associations: a context to filter out the bad, and breathe in the good, and use that process to change the energy and direction of your life, for that week and beyond.
May your next celebration be a good one, not only in the joy of life that embraces you, but in the positive energy it gives you to generate more of life to celebrate.