Hello Dear Readers,
Spiritual, mystical, delightful, full of promise?… I could write many things about the allure of Shabbat. I am called to it and it is calling me. Not like a moth to fire, but like a child anticipating a big custard ice cream cone with warm chocolate melting down its sides. Who cares about the melting!?! A sweet summer day with a soft breeze. A gentle caress, a cozy wintry day curled up with a blanket on a big cushy chair. My imagination could write pages on this calling. I know it is something that will light up my soul. And more important, I will be doing what I believe G-d wants.
It’s a stretch.
I grew up so secular, I didn’t even know the word “secular” existed! My Jewish friends ranged from “bagel and cream cheese Jews” meaning bagels were about as Jewish as we got, to Jews who went to Synagogue twice a year dressed in really nice clothes, to the really religious ones who still also wore mini-mini skirts like me and as far as I knew also ate bacon like I did. It was their Hebrew School attendance several times a week that made them religious in my eyes. If any of my friends were more engaged with Jewishness or G-d, it escaped me.
Now of course the ball game has changed. I love Judaism. I’ve found passion, purpose, joy, and most importantly love of G-d and people in this whole delicious affair. Fun too. I couldn’t do it without fun.
After it was suggested to look at Shabbat as a peaceful day and to not focus on the “prohibitions”, I had two very different experiences. The first week I chose activities I thought would be calming and I avoided the ones which I knew bogged me down. A WONDERFUL SHABBAT it turned out to be!
The next week…
I didn’t follow that path.
I’d say to myself, if I go on twitter or read this controversial article, it will bring me down.
And I promptly went on twitter and read the controversial article.
And yes I went down. I felt yucky and stressed.
Mind you I’m not trying to stop social media and all the everyday activities. Just on Shabbat…
Well this third Shabbat, I noticed it was much easier to choose quiet time and make time for family/friends. That two week Shabbat experiment proved to be Shabbat’s biggest advocate. I wanted to give myself this break.
Custard ice cream with warm dripping chocolate did not magically appear. BUT, after spending time with my Rabbi and friends, and then choosing to be quiet in a “Shabbos mind”, words fail me…
It wasn’t a mystical magical tour of cosmic enlightenment. It was…
like peacefully falling into a soft gentle bed of feathers.
This was wondrous, flipping my notions of spirituality on its head. Rather than delighting in the “Shabbat” inside me, I could let it all go and even go limp in the dear arms of Shabbat. A delight bigger than my greatest imagination and as close and soft as a cherished newborn being held.
Last but not least, G-d loves when we toss in a little fun. 😉
Shabbat Shalom lovely friends … and Shalom Aleichem שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם
Peace be unto you this coming Shabbat and every day.
Love, Vivi. ©
p.s. This video features Shalom Alecheim שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם sung here by Barry & Batya Segal, transliterated and translated into English. The Talmud relates, “Two angels accompany a person on the eve of the Shabbat from the synagogue to his home.” The Shalom Alecheim song, traditionally sung before the Shabbat meal on Friday night, greets the angels, requests their blessing and bids them farewell.
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RESOURCES: The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel: A lovely book about Shabbat hailed as a spiritual classic, Shalom Aleichem Youtube Sung by Barry & Batya Segal, Dickey’s Frozen Custard: The-Best-Custard!, Chess Photo by Gordon Johnson, Ice cream Photo by Ross Sokolovski, Bagel Photo by Romjan Aly, all other Photos from Canva.com