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An Interview with Shabbat

An Interview with Shabbat


. . . Rain likely tomorrow, the high 60. Saturday should be a beautiful day with sunshine and a high of 72. Stay turned for more of the Leonard Lapine Show . . .

Leonard: My next guest is known throughout the world as the Holy Sabbath. He’s written a new book called Shabbat: Make My Day, and I’m very pleased that it brings Shabbat back to our show. Hello.

Shabbat: It’s great to be here, Leonard.

My next guest is known throughout the world as the Holy Sabbath...Leonard: Your first book was a memoir, My Days of Rest. This book is also about Shabbat. How is it different?

Shabbat: My new book tells you what you can do to maximize your enjoyment of Shabbat, the meaning behind some of the more popular Shabbat customs, and I give my recipe for gefilte fish.

Leonard: Your first piece of advice is “Don’t Be Shy, Say Hi to the Shabbat Bride.” I never knew you were married. Who is it? Someone we know?

Shabbat: Leonard, when you’ve been married for thousands of years, as I have, you better have a great spouse—especially when you come home only on weekends. But I knew from the beginning that I was married to someone special. See, I got married late. When the world was created, I was made last. By the seventh day, all the other days had mates: Sunday with Wednesday; Monday with Thursday; and Tuesday with Friday . . .

Leonard: Is that how they came up with the alternate side parking days in New York?

Shabbat: It’s worth looking into . . . As I was saying, by the time I was created, everybody had a partner except me. G‑d could see I was dejected. So He said to me, “Don’t worry, Shabbat, I have someone very special for you.” I said, “Are you creating an eighth day?” “No,” He told me, “I’m giving you to the Jewish people.” Leonard, in the fall, I’m proud to say, we celebrated our 5,772nd wedding anniversary.

Leonard: Mazel tov. But you see each other only on the weekends?

Shabbat: That’s right. I’m away during the week. I’m a stress-management consultant, so I travel all the time. When we’re reunited Friday night, the Jewish people practically sing and dance—actually, they do sing and dance.

Leonard: Tell us about it.

Shabbat: As Friday turns into Shabbat, they conduct a special prayer service just to welcome me. Toward the end of that service they sing a beautiful song called “Lecha Dodi”—“Welcome, My Beloved.”

Leonard: So how does this song compel you to make your entrance?

Shabbat: Well, when they get to the last stanza—“Come in peace, O crown of her Husband, both with songs and gladness; among the faithful, the beloved people, come, O Bride, come, O Bride; come, Shabbat Queen”—everyone turns around and faces west, my locale, and I turn east to face them.

Leonard: And then you finally enter the synagogue?

Shabbat: Well, I don’t exactly walk in off the street. I’m more of a presence. When I’m there, I’m there. You notice the room is different. You don’t see me. But you feel me there. The women, FYI, receive me earlier, when they light Shabbat candles.

You don’t see me. But you feel me thereLeonard: Your next suggestion is “Have Another Piece of Baked Chicken: Your Extra Soul Must Be Starving.” Why is eating such an important part of Shabbat?

Shabbat: Leonard, delighting in Shabbat is a mitzvah. On Shabbat pleasure is enhanced—the spiritual and the physical. The praying’s better, the Torah learning is better—and the sleeping is literally more peaceful, and the food tastes more delicious.

Leonard: That’s quite a claim. Does Shabbat come with a warranty?

Shabbat: Just the testimony of the millions of Jews who have made Shabbat the last 3,300 years.

Leonard: That sounds better than the guarantee I got on my last Toyota. You were saying that the food tastes better on Shabbat. How can that be? You’re not going around the world hiring the best chefs, are you?

Shabbat: Everybody’s soul undergoes a transformation and elevation on Shabbat. Kabbalah describes this change as being granted an extra soul. Commentators on the Talmud speak of a person’s soul gaining a heightened sensitivity to the peace and joy of Shabbat, and an increased capacity to eat and drink.

Leonard: But what does that have to do with how the kugel tastes?

Shabbat: When your soul’s been opened to a more acute sense of pleasure, you appreciate more the goodness inside of everything, including your mother’s kugel.

Leonard: What are some other foods that we associate with Shabbat?

Shabbat: Well, the first thing anyone tastes Friday night at the Shabbat meal is, of course, wine, which we use to sanctify the day when we make kiddush. Today you could keep a large wine cellar stocked with all the different kosher wines on the market. Besides a wide range of sweet wines, vintners from France to Chile and from California to Australia make kosher wines for the sophisticated palate.

Leonard: Which wines do you recommend?

Shabbat: I don’t make endorsements, Leonard. I was once on a show like this one, and I praised a certain brand of recliner chair. Man, I never heard the end of it. After that I decided—no endorsements.

Leonard: I’m starting to see why everybody’s so anxious to greet you Friday night. You bring all the goodies.

Shabbat: True, but it’s a two-way street. I don’t become inspired to give my bounty until the Jewish people make me feel at home.

Leonard: That’s sweet. Okay, we have time for one caller . . . Go ahead, caller, you’re on the air.

I’m starting to see why everybody’s so anxious to greet you Friday night. You bring all the goodiesCaller: I lost an orange windbreaker at the 23rd Street Shul last Shabbat. Has anybody found it?

Shabbat: My Lost and Found people should be able to help you with that.

Leonard: Caller, stay on the line and the screener will give you the number . . . Shabbat, I want to thank you again for being my guest. It’s always fascinating to talk with you. And I must say, for a guy who’s been around for so long, you don’t look a minute over seven days old.

Shabbat: I really appreciate that, Leonard. Thank you for having me on.

Leonard: Shabbat will be giving a reading from his new book tonight at 7:30 at the Barnes and Noble at 82nd and Broadway. Please arrive on time, because a large crowd is expected . . . Well, that’s our show for today. Join me tomorrow, when my guest will be a very old pair of tefillin, who will talk about his experiences traveling with the Baal Shem Tov . . .

Moshe Parelman is a third-generation Kansas Citian living in exile in New York, where he spends most of his time trying to earn a living rather than doing what he really enjoys—studying chassidic philosophy and writing.
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Rivkah from Colorado Colorado Springs, O December 26, 2015

Shabbat Shalom Mr. Moshe!!!!
I loved this article! I've been studying chassidus with my Rabbi for twenty years, this writing was amazing on and for so many levels. I wish you would continue your "interview" with Shabbos year-round! You have enough material to work with for several lifetimes. How about becoming a regular columnist with anyone who was wise enough to perpetually keep you on board...isnt that syndication? To be able to combine chassidus, wit, and relevant modernity to instilling our greatest make an incredibly esoteric,difficult in comprehension, yet vital to understand to observe with beyond huge. I understand observance levels are dropping with younger generations. "Tradition" isn't enough anymore when answering the question "why". Shabbat observance with proper emunah is difficult for me still, and I ain't no spring chicken. I hope you realize how important and useful a "vessel" for your "interviews" are, and that they continue- a long time. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma March 9, 2013

Chabad and Shabbat it seems there's a resonance to the two words that do sound together a lot alike if you listen closely. Reply

M H February 16, 2012

i found it in Bereishit Rabbah 11:8 (not 18) but i could not find it in the sfas emes Reply

Moshe Parelman Brooklyn, NY February 12, 2012

Bereishit Rabbah 11:18 says that G-d blessed Shabbat and revealed that the Jews are its partner when it complained that it didn't have a mate. Day One had Day Two, Three had Four and Five had Six.

The Sfas Emes writes that the partner for each day is the creation made on that day. Since Shabbat is a day of rest in which nothing was created, G-d gave Shabbat the Jewish people, who, like Shabbat, are above Creation.

... I should have an article similar to the last one on this website some time before Purim. Reply

M H February 8, 2012

can you elaborate more on the idea of the first six days partnering with each other? i've never heard of it before but im intrigued. thanks, i loved this article and im looking forward to more! Reply

Inna Pembroke Pines, FL January 18, 2012

Shabbat What a beautiful way to describe Shabbat Reply

Anthony Toledo, OH via January 13, 2012

Very creative What a wonderfully creative way to explain the joy if Shabbat! Loved reading it! Reply

grandma houston, texas via January 13, 2012

anything thst warms my heart. i am 84 and blessed by my Father in many ways. when I enter His house on Shabbat. i listen to the Rabbi and my heart is joyful. my fears and pain and worries dissolve. From day to day I thank my Creator for the sun, the moon, the rain, the beautiful flowers, all presents to us, His children. Indeed, the Master Painter has given us wonderful gifts, but the best of all is love. Reply

stephen (Schlomo) brody roslyn, N January 12, 2012

Shabbat Outstanding! Thank you! Reply

Anonymous alabama January 12, 2012

creative very creative way of explaining shabbat Reply

saa January 12, 2012

nice Very original way of presenting it. Nice job! Loved it! Reply

Annie Toronto, ON January 12, 2012

Ingenious... great way to share the good -
wish my printer could hook up to my laptop...

Excuse me... I have a lot of challah to get baking for some 27 + kids tomorrow night... arriving late out the midbar!
from Toronto... Have a wonderful Shabbat

this would make a great Shabbas table read! Reply

Anonymous Welkom, South Africa January 12, 2012

Shabbat I loved this! It makes Shabbat so friendly. Reply

Anonymous Denver, CO January 11, 2012

Thanks Danny for sharing. Grandpa Jake & Bobee would be SOOO proud of you. Aunt E Reply

rena tzfat January 11, 2012

great work! I really enjoyed reading this. Reply

Molly LA, CA, USA January 10, 2012

Great! Thanks for a wonderful way of looking at Shabbat! Reply

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