Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sweet Shabbat

What a beautiful sunset! There is nothing like a beautiful sunset on a Friday night at the beginning of spring break! This was a beautiful beginning to a very sweet Shabbat.
Mid-terms are over, and I think I did well on both of them.

Last night, after watching the sunset, we got ready for Shabbat. The chicken had been roasting in the oven, the food was prepared. The table set, the wine poured. The challah warmed.

Shabbat evening is always a sweet, peaceful time. Everybody bathed, everybody dressed in clean clothes.

When the candles are finally lit, the peace of entering holy time settles upon us. We make the blessing over the candles, over the children, over the wine and bread. We talk, we laugh, we eat.

This week was especially relaxing for me, as it came at the end of a busy week of studying and writing exams. When Shabbat comes at the end of a particularly long and intense week, it feels really wonderful to let go of cares and concerns and step into the freedom of Shabbat. No work or worry for twenty-four hours. Rest.

I used to think it was redundant to be commanded to rest. I thought it was like being commanded to eat. Who needs to be commanded to do such a basic thing?

In these days of 24/7 everything, I see the wisdom of the commandment. Free people can stop one day in seven and spend some time human being instead of human doing.

Today, we took a nice walk with the dogs.
We went to the very special Bar Mitzvah of a friend and the son of friends.

There was time to spend outside in the afternoon.

Notice something funny about the picture? Yes--he's barefoot. Yes that's snow! It was 65 degrees when the picture was taken, but we still have a good deal of snow leftover from the many snowstorms. Our hill is a north-facing hill. So N. spent some time barefoot because of the warm weather.

He thinks he's a hobbit!

This evening, we ended Shabbat with the simple but beautiful ceremony Havdalah--which means separation.

In havdalah we say good-by to Shabbat with wine, sweet smelling spices and fire.

Here are some of our hands, as we look at the reflection of our nails in the flame.

The spices are in the little pomegranate that hangs on the candlabra.

Here is N., surprised by the camera, as he got ready to extinguish the flame in the sweet wine.

I don't know why he was startled, exactly, because these pictures were taken after we had actually concluded havdalah. We just lit the candle again for pictures when Shabbat was actually over.

Good-by sweet Shabbat!
"May the One that separates the holy from the ordinary make our children, our wealth, as plentiful as the sands on the seashore, as the stars in the heavens."
Tomorrow, I will start my normal spring break ritual.
It is time to start cleaning the house for Passover!
Next week, Shabbat will be a welcome rest from real physical labor.
Each Shabbat is different!

No comments: