Comfort – a word with many connotations.
On one end of the spectrum, we have comfort as the healing process that alleviates the grief and pain of a trauma … On the other end, comfort is the joy of luxurious living … And then there is the perfectly balanced sense of comfort: the peaceful state of mind.
It is that latter definition of comfort that we all strive to attain. For good reason. When we are at peace – comfortable – with ourselves and with those around us, we can then attain and foster the important things in life: growth, purpose, contribution, meaning.
This Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu, “The Shabbat of Comfort”, with its theme of comfort and healing that follows the trauma of Tisha B’Av, when we mourn the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem and other national tragedies that have been burned into the collective psyche of the Jewish People.
We’ve all suffered tragedy and endured difficult trauma – like the loss of a dear loved one – for which we seek a healing comfort to get us through those painful circumstances. But it is the inner turmoils in our hearts and minds – a troubled relationship, a career failure, a wayward child, a social ill that hits too close to home – that are tragedies of a different nature. Perhaps less traumatic than a tragedy of loss, but more insidious in terms of how these inner problems can simply ruin our lives. And we seek healing in these instances by asking of ourselves and of G-d to be granted the greatest comfort … the comfort of “peace of mind”.
So on this Shabbat of Comfort, we don’t just ask and receive the comfort to heal our traumas. The Haftorah Portion begins with a double term of comfort – “Nachamu, Nachamu!”. G-d, don’t just heal our traumas but please also heal our souls. Make life better for us in the ways that really matter – in our homes, in our families, amongst our friends, in our communities.
And we commit to providing that comfort of peace-of-mind to our children in the form of preventative medicine and healing so that throughout their lives they carry within them the strength and the ability to deal with the inevitable “issues” BEFORE those issues become traumas…
May we all be granted the comfort we need, and may the world be a comfortable home for all people, and for G-d Himself.