Sacred Time

How I Found a Home in Time

[Editor’s note: This article uses a pseudonym for one of the individuals named.]

“I feel like I lost half my life,” I told people. The words shocked even me each time they rushed up reflexively through my vocal cords. Before Alex and I broke up, I had always prided myself on being uncompromisingly independent. My favorite time of the week was Saturday afternoons, when I planned solo adventures, often a bike ride to a part of town I had never seen or a trip to a new museum. 

Yet here I was, alone, disappointed that the only force to shake the stagnant air in my empty house was my heart’s reluctant lub…dub. Each deliberate beat suddenly felt like a Herculean feat. I wished for something stronger to wade through the thick air: words like “goodnight” and “we’ll get through this together,” or just a question about the most mundane parts of my day. I wished to fill the space with anything at all. I missed sharing the words “I love you” and the promise they carried that we would have the same phone call again tomorrow or wander through the woods together.

While my house felt cold and empty without its regular visitor, I found a home in time. I found a home in the interval between one week and the next, in Shabbat and the routines it carried. I found comfort in the light, the familiar tunes, and the togetherness. 

As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “[the Sabbath is] an opportunity to mend our tattered lives; to collect rather than to dissipate time” (18). So on Wednesdays, I eagerly texted my friend, “Rachel! Havdalah this Saturday?” and waited until Saturday evening to feel my feet on the ground and my brain in silence for a few hours.

The ritual replaced the words “I love you,” promising to come back again next week. Havdalah marks the transition between Shabbat and the regular work week. The ritual demands all your senses at once in mindful attention: seeing the flame, tasting the wine, smelling the herbs, hearing the sizzle, holding your people. At that moment, how can you be anywhere else but here? There’s no space to think about how alone this room will feel once the light sizzles out and your friend goes home. 

So we would light the candle together and drink whatever approximation of fruit juice we happened to have that week, and hum and sing, and when the light sizzled out, we would read tarot from Rachel’s queer Appalachian deck of whimsical, beautiful, mysterious, and foreboding characters. And when the next week came around, I was a little bit more whole. 

At The Well uplifts many approaches to Jewish practice. Our community draws on ancient Jewish wisdom, sometimes adapting longstanding practices to more deeply support the well-being of women and nonbinary people. See this article’s sources below. We believe Torah (sacred teachings) are always unfolding to help answer the needs of the present moment.


The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel

Havdalah: Taking Leave of Shabbat, My Jewish Learning

How I Found a Home in Time
Sophie Dulberg
Sophie Dulberg

Sophie Dulberg is an organizer, dancer, and nurse who cares deeply about housing and environmental justice. Sophie is an Avodah alum, a member of Tzedek Lab, and co-founder of a Jewish racial justice collaborative. Outside of work, Sophie enjoys bringing people together and spending time outside. 

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