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Experiencing Shabbat

Experiencing Shabbat

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I have a weekly ritual that I share with my children. Quiet descends upon our home as I light the Shabbat candles and usher in the Shabbat Queen. I finish the blessing on the Shabbat lights and the prayers that pour forth from my heart and then I turn to my children and cry out in an excited voice, "Good Shabbos!" This is their cue. One grabs my hand, the other tugs at my skirt and we begin to dance and sing as we welcome the Holy Shabbat.

"Lecha dodi li krat kalla, penai Shabbat nekabelah."

"Come, my beloved, to meet the bride, let us welcome the Shabbat."

It's magical, the way only a moment before the day was like any other day "Likrat Shabbat, lechu v'nelcha, kee hee mekor habracha."

"To meet the Shabbat, come, let us go, for she is the source of blessing."

It's magical, the dance, the singing, the way we welcome in Shabbat. It's magical, the way only a moment before the day was like any other day with a million and one things to do and to get done, and now time is suddenly different. No more of the hustle and bustle of life's activities, now I have time to sing and dance with my children.

Now it's dinner time. We're all sitting at the table. My son to my right and my daughter to my left. My five-year-old son has a book in his hand. He's slowly reading out the words; he's reading us a story. I stare at my husband, smiling. We both can't believe it. Last week he still stumbled over certain vowel sounds and now he's reading us a story.

Look at what happened in a week!

"Mommy," my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter says to me. "Toilet!" I jump up, I grab her and off we go. I look to my husband, our eyes meet. Last Shabbat she was not yet toilet trained and had constant accidents and now she's telling us beforehand.

Look at what happened in a week!

When G‑d gave the Torah, no bird squawked. No winged creature flew. No cow mooed. The ofanim didn't soar. The seraphim didn't say, "Holy, Holy." The sea didn't sway. People didn't speak. Rather the world was completely silent, and a voice rang out: "I am the L‑rd, your G‑d." (Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 29:9)

What can this be compared to? Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus, of blessed memory, explains. Imagine a great and powerful king. One of his subjects goes to see him in the royal palace. On the way to the king the subject stops to hear musicians (who are playing for the king) playing beautiful music. He can hardly pull himself away when his ear picks up a fascinating discourse given by one of the king's ministers. He becomes so caught up in the lecture, the music, the beautiful palace, that he almost forgets about the king. The king stands up and cries, "Quiet!". Suddenly silence fills the room and the beauty and splendor of the king fill the palace.

Six days a week I have an incredibly hectic schedule. There are so many things going on that six days of my week can pass and I won't even notice how much my children have grown. I won't have time to talk to my husband, not about my work or the grocery shopping, but about us, life, our dreams, our goals. Six days a week I have distraction after distraction and then…Shabbat! Shabbat Kodesh, the Holy Shabbat.

Six days a week I have distraction after distraction and then…Shabbat!The world around me stops. Like a radar I am able to focus in on my family, on myself. I see things that I missed all week long. This is one of the things I love most about Shabbat and this, I imagine, must be one of the reasons why Shabbat is the source of blessing because Shabbat gives me the time, the attention that I need to see the blessing and that in itself is a blessing.

"Lecha dodi li krat kalla, penai Shabbat nekabelah."

"Come, my beloved, to meet the bride, let us welcome the Shabbat."

"Likrat Shabbat, lechu v'nelcha, kee hee mekor habracha."

"To meet the Shabbat, come, let us go, for she is the source of blessing."

Originally from northern California and a Stanford University graduate, Elana Mizrahi now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children. She is a doula, massage therapist, writer, and author of Dancing Through Life, a book for Jewish women. She also teaches Jewish marriage classes for brides.
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Robin Oklahoma City, OK/USA August 1, 2011

Experiencing Shabbat What a beautiful article Reply

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