Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Mention the word separation and the first thing that pops up in my mind is Havdalah. But the prayer that marks that moment separating the holiness of Shabbat from the mundane rest of the week goes even further. We not only distinguish between the sacred and the profane but between light and darkness and between the Jewish people and the nations of the world.

It was the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l, who pointed out one of the paradoxes of Havdalah: “that its ultimate function is to join and unite the very things it comes to differentiate.” We may separate Shabbos from the rest of the week – but it is from Shabbos that all days are blessed. We may be told to preserve our uniqueness, but we are still called to be an “ohr lagoyim,” a light to the nations.


Rather than remaining behind walls, we can live our religious lives in the public sphere – with distinctions in place, yet never forgetting to do so in a way that is a daily seven day a week kiddush Hashem.


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Rabbanit Dr. Adena Berkowitz, a practicing therapist, is Scholar in Residence at Kol HaNeshamah NYC, Senior Educator at MJE and author of The Jewish Journey Haggadah.