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Shabbat Readings

A selection of articles on the significace of the Shabbat and its traditions.

A Brief History of Shabbat
The creation of rest . . . Sarah’s miraculous Shabbat lamp . . . Bread from heaven . . . “Work” defined . . . The invention of cholent . . . Sacrifice and martyrdom . . . Candle-lighting campaign . . . The World to Come . . .
At Work in the Fields of the Lord
On celebrating the spiritual and the material
As the sun slides down the sky and the air fills with a golden haze, a small crowd gathers in front of a gray house just south of the University of Oregon campus. It’s Friday night, and they are here to celebrate Shabbat
The principle of progressive overload
Enter the Beloved
Song of Songs on Friday evening in the little Moroccan shul on Shimshon Street in Jerusalem is a string of multiple solo performances.
A Day Away from Broadway
With a theater enterprise, tottering is its normal gait. Sometimes it does totter to ruin, and sometimes it totters to great prosperity. But I cannot honestly ascribe either result to my observing the Shabbat.
Shalom Shabbat
In the endless conflict between earth and spirit, sheer weight often wins out. Shabbat is a reunion with our inner selves, a return to the primal oneness of our souls
When G-d Blinks
Reflections on Shabbat
Shabbat is the pause between, the no-man's land, the dark of light, the in of out, the light of dark, the in-between
Being Real
The Spark of Truth Inside the Shabbat Candles
On Shabbat morning I would sit beside my grandmother in synagogue, and the exhaustion of the week would melt as we prayed. But as soon as Shabbat ended I would go back to my struggle to create a picture perfect life instead of a real one...
Keeping the Shabbos
Orthodox in an Un-orthodox World
She makes a motion with her hands, drawing the heat of the candles to her face. Then her hands are over her face, as she performs the silent prayer
Why So Many Don'ts on Shabbat?
I love the Shabbat experience, but why so many restrictions? All that "don't do this" and "don't do that" -- sounds more like a prison than a day of rest!
The Biological Shabbat Clock
How does a seven-day cycle manifest itself in nature? Or does it?
The Biblical Environmentalist
Does man belong to nature, or does nature belong to man?
Alone Time
Why We Usher the Shabbat Angels Out
A person invites guests for dinner. He introduces the guests to his family, sits down at the table—and then not three minutes later, before the first morsel of food is served, the guests are shown the door...
The Shabbat Experiment
Without really even noticing, Shabbat settled in and the vibe of our whole house shifted. It was a quietude that was defined by the fact that we knew it would last, even for only a day. All the pressure was gone...
Are We Obsessed with Prohibitions?
A challenge was recently issued to me by a Jew who describes himself as “positively oriented.” The G-d of Torah, he maintains, is one of wrath, vengeance and prohibitions, whereas his G-d is filled with love...
Shabbat Is...
Rest. Awareness. Jewish identity. Pleasure. Spirituality. The World to Come. The Experience of a Lifetime, Every Week.
A Taste and Promise of Redemption
We know that Shabbat is the most delicious day of the week, and the midrash tells us, in fact, that Shabbat is precisely that: a taste of a perfect, heavenly world.
The Axis
Imagine that you are living your life on the rim of a spinning wheel. Round and round it turns, faster and faster
The Art of G-d
G-d is the prototype modern artist; the universe is His gallery, and on Shabbat it is open to the public...
World of Thought
Why did the Creator have to speak in order to create? Wouldn’t it be so much more wonderful if we were all just a thought?
Passive Labor
If G‑d is the source of all blessings, why work to earn a livelihood?
The Kabbalah of Smell
Prior to the birth of my oldest child, I actually found myself looking forward to this rite of parenthood, waiting to be introduced to diaper changing. At first it was not bad, not much of a challenge. More recently, however, as my son approaches his second birthday, the stench emanating from his diaper is unreal.
The Kabbalah of Havdalah
"Differentiation" is a double paradox -- and the essence of holiness
Bread From Heaven
The manna is to Jewish history what Shabbat is to the workday week: a precedent
The 40th Labor
What is “work”? If life is synonymous with creativity, is Shabbat a time outside life? What is the deeper significance of the curious Talmudic phrase, “forty labors minus one”?
Life on the Witness Stand
To observe the Shabbat is to make a statement about G-d's world; and making a statement about the world is a greater feat than making the world
Contrary to common perception, time does not stop when we rest: it flows inward
A Feeling of Nostalgia . . . A Feeling of Home
What is that smell I love . . . the smell that cries out to my soul? It’s the smell of Shabbat cooking, whether it’s matzah-ball soup or Moroccan fish, cholent, t’fina or kibbe hamda. It’s that smell of something special and familiar. The smell of Shabbat. The smell of home.
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