A wonderful thing happened the other night. We lost power in our neighborhood. For a moment, there was a ghostly silence as appliances were sucked of their life-sustaining energy source. The hum of the computer was now substituted by an eerie quietude. I never realized before how the droning, toneless reverberations of the refrigerator and freezer, as well as the many other electrical gadgets which had found its way into our space, had suppressed the human heartbeat of the household.

I foolishly ran with reckless abandon to rescue my motherThen, suddenly, the quiet was replaced by a rebirth of familiar human sounds, and the steady, harmonious breathing of bodies making their way through the obscurity.

Some painful thuds echoed in the darkness, and for me, a narrow escape from a scary tumble down our winding staircase as I foolishly ran with reckless abandon to rescue my elderly mother from the darkness of her bedroom.

The noiselessness was broken by clangs and creaks, clatters and thumps as we cautiously made our way to the candles through the lightless obstacle course, most of us automatically ending up in our family room (aptly named, don't you think?).

It's strange, I thought, that only moments before the lights went out, I had been pondering how I could get everyone out of their hibernation in order to spend a little time together. I smiled to myself as I heard our youngest offspring lament how she was right in the middle of her homework assignment which she now couldn't complete as it was on the computer (what on earth did WE do without them all those years!). I was still smiling when my third born thoughtfully gathered the wood and readied the fireplace so that we could get comfy and bask in its orange glow. But I felt the warmth well before the logs were lit.

G‑d must have intervened. There was nothing to do but rest and interact. Almost like Shabbat... on a Thursday.

Everyone's plans changed in an instant and as we sat together for a couple of hours, we talked, relaxed, snacked and reminisced.

Yes, in an instant, so much can change. I remembered how, in an instant many years ago when I was a young girl, my beloved father suffered an irreversible stroke which left him hemiplegic and aphasic for the rest of his short-lived days. In an instant, my husband's eldest brother transformed from a perfectly healthy, vibrant man to a comatose patient with precious few hours left. In an instant, my friend, Melody, after years of gasping for air, was able to breathe easily again following a successful double lung transplant. All of you have your own stories of instant changes in your lives.

The here and now is the moment to seizeIn an instant - in the time it takes to say these words aloud - our entire lives can transform from routine and predictable to chaotic and uncertain. So the here and now is the moment to seize, to capture and instantly bookmark for later reference when we will need its recognizable and comforting presence.

The strangest thing happened when the lights finally came on. Our youngest, who had complained at first that she required her computer "immediately," didn't jump up instantly to enclose herself in her room; she remained on the couch with me a little longer, and as I stroked her beautiful, dark, chestnut hair, I finally understood why Shabbat is such a special time during the week. I got why technology has advanced our lives in so many ways, yet it has also separated us from each other.

There is nothing more important than our loved ones. My husband and I cherish every moment with our children more and more with each passing day. While I adored the infancy, toddler and childhood years as a new mommy, their transition to teens and adults has equally enriched my life and I feel very blessed.

And, every waking day I find myself learning anew what it means to be Jewish, and being a child of Holocaust survivors has been a journey in itself, as many of you know from your own personal experiences.

Today I was taught an important reminder. It doesn't have to be Saturday for us to become mellow and relax with one another. We need to make time to reconnect with our treasured family members several times during the week, even for a few minutes. For our family, Friday night Shabbat dinner is the perfect opportunity to interrupt the perpetual, restless pace of the previous week and allow the candle lighting and blessings to rekindle our souls.

This Thursday evening provided another opening to spend time together. I took a mental snapshot of it lest I ever forget how soothing and enriching it was.

Our power failure lit a fire of hopeEach instant with our loved ones is a precious gift. While Shabbat is a holy time, it makes sense to consider every single day as an occasion to apply the principles and meaning of the Shabbat. I have recently learned that each morning, in recitation of the Psalms, one refers to the continuous preparation for the Shabbat. We should, therefore, strive to achieve at least a portion of that sense of holiness and purity each day of the week.

Our power failure may have extinguished the lights in our home, but it lit a fire of hope and helped us remember why being close is what holds us together and lights up our world.