Shabbat Nachamu – the Shabbat of Comforting takes its name from the haftarah from Isaiah ( 40:1-26) that speaks of “comforting” the Jewish people for their suffering. There we read, “Comfort you, comfort you My people, said your God.” ( Isaiah 40:1) This haftarah is the first of seven haftarot of consolation leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. It occurs on the Shabbat following Tisha B’Av. It is understood to be the start the national healing process. Like no time in recent history we really need this Nechemta- comfort. But with such suffering now in the world how might we make that shift to comfort?
Recently I have been reading Dr. Carol Dweck‘s Mindset. It is a wonderful book in which she uses her research in psychology to outlines two typological mindsets. Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Are these qualities simply fixed traits, carved in stone and that’s that or are they things you can cultivate throughout your life? People with a Fixed Mindset believe that their traits are just given. People with a Growth Mindset, on the other hand, see their qualities as things that can be developed through their dedication and effort. Below you can see a great graphic explanation of these two mindsets. Dr. Dweck argues that having a Growth Mindset is the secret to being successful in everything including sports, parenting, business, school, teaching, coaching, and relationships.
As a nation if we had a Fixed Mindset and we experienced the set back of Tisha B’Av or the current attacks by Hamas in Gaza we would have just given up and been done. We would not have lasted as we have throughout history. But instead, we choose a Growth Mindset. With Shabbat Nachamu we are invited to work and developing our relationships with each other, the world, and God.
I was thinking about this when listening to John Newman ‘s song, “Love Me Again”. In this song he is trying to resolve the nature of a relationship in his life. Will the object of his affection love him again? The song goes:
Now I’m rising from the ground
Rising up to you
Filled with all the strength I found
There’s nothing I can’t do!
I think it is worth listening too.
If we have a Growth Mindset and we are trying to answer John Newman’s question after Tisha B’Av the answer has to be that there’s nothing we can’t do. With Shabbat Nachamu is seems that God is willing to love us again. And if we work on it, in seven weeks we will be back in God’s good graces. When it comes to how we relate to each other, our neighbors, our friends, and even our enemies there is much to do. I hope we will recover a Growth Mindset regarding this crisis in the Middle East. It is time to repair, prepare, and grow. With the right Mindset there is nothing we can’t do.