Shabbat When You’re ‘Stuck’ at Home

It’s been about a week since many of us started to self-quarantine. As I was thinking about this week’s sermon, I wondered, as we all are- what do we do while we’re stuck at home? What do we do with ourselves when have to stay still and cannot (or at least should not) leave?

People are not designed to sit still, so this week’s Torah portion Vayakeil-Pikudei ends the book of Exodus by talking about stillness. Guiding our ancestors through the wilderness to the Promised Land was a miraculous pillar of cloud. Like a divine GPS system, this pillar would guide us on our trek. The Torah teaches that the journey to the Promised Land took 40 years, but for decades of this time, 38 years out of 40, the cloud never moved. It turns out that our journey to the Promised Land was not as much about movement as it was about staying still.

One of our congregants sent me a text- “Your grandparents were called to war. You are being called to sit on the couch and watch Netflix.” Stillness is hard, and Netflix is easy, but Judaism is pushing us to something better.

If we let it, the stillness of the weeks and months ahead has the power to transform us. Stillness can bring us closer to the people we love. Stillness can make life holy in a way that nothing else can.

You can read the sermon below to find out more. I hope it resonates, and that this message helps guide you through this sacred time of staying still.

Click here for the full text of Rabbi Miller’s sermon.


Click here to see a Facebook post that accompanied this blog.