Let’s start by taking a few breaths, quieting and slowing ourselves down, breathing in and breathing out. I invite you to close your eyes, to breathe with intention, to invite the peace of the Sabbath into your heart and your mind. Take a moment to ground yourself, to feel your feet on the floor or your body in your seat, to be truly present in this special moment. When you’re ready, open your eyes and look around, see your friends and fellows,those in recovery and those who are allies.

The Sabbath invites us to reflect on the week behind us, to ask ourselves if we’ve been kind and loving toward all, and if needed, to ask for others’ forgiveness as much as we ask for God’s.  We also use the Sabbath to mark the beginning of a new week, an opportunity to consider our goals and plans, to ask for God to direct our thinking and help us remain peaceful and focused on living in his will. Take another breath, breathing in the promise of the coming week, and with your exhale, let go of negative thoughts and feelings from the week before.

The Sabbath invites us to gather as a kehillah, a community,one where we love without judgment and thank God for the many blessings of life in recovery and beyond. The Kiddush is, in itself, a blessing of thanks,acknowledging that we are but one small part of a much larger universe. We thank the God of our understanding for the creations that give us small pleasures – the fruit of the vine, which gives us the grape and the juice that comes from it.

The simple beauty of this fruit of the vine is that our blessings and thanks to God ring true regardless of whether we enjoy the juice or the wine. We are so much more than our addictions, we are human beings,perfectly imperfect, with the ability to create a path for ourselves that brings us peace and fulfillment. We say the Kiddush in the way that fills our hearts, knowing that God grants his blessing upon us as we bless his creations in all forms.

We are human beings, created by a loving, forgiving God. Our strength lies in the understanding of our own powerlessness, finding comfort inthe notion that we can accept what we cannot change, and find courage to change the things we can. Like the grape, we are just small miracles here on this earth, adding our own sweetness to the journey we share together.

Now, I invite you to think of all that went into the Kiddush cup that we are holding, and take a moment to feel gratitude, to feel blessed, and to bless. Reflect upon the week before, the week to come, and the beauty of this kehillah coming together to celebrate the Sabbath and nourish each other’s souls. Let our voices come together, and join us as we bl