The snowstorm that started Friday afternoon continued through Friday midnight and gave us about 8 inches of fine powder.
We are snowbound again, and thus have a nature-made Shabbat as a day of complete rest at home.
Here, the dark, stormy day is seamlessly becoming dusk, as the snow piles up around the leafless Aspen tree on the back patio.
Shabbat is nearly upon us.
On Erev Shabbat, the Menorah is lit before the Shabbat candles. Here, we have turned on the purely decorative window Menorah in the late afternoon, to enjoy it as we prepare the Shabbat Table.
We moved the table that we use for the Menorot from the great room to the dining room, so that we can enjoy the Hannukah lights while we eat the Shabbat meal.
After lighting the kosher Menorot and singing the blessings, the Boychick opens a present.
Although gift-giving is actually more of a Purim custom, in the United States, small gifts are usually given for Hannukah. It is an example of the many ways Jews have borrowed from the cultures they have lived among.
The as yet unlit Shabbat candles are in the foreground. Once they are lit, no other light will be kindled.
In the foreground, the Shabbat table is set, the Kiddush* wine has been poured in goblets and in the silver Kiddush cup, and we are getting ready for the transition from lighting the Hannukah lights to celebrating Shabbat.
*Kiddush, from the Hebrew word for holiness--literally 'Separation'--is the blessing said over a cup of wine that marks the transition from ordinary time into holy time. The wine is a symbol of joy and abundance. Jews tend to sanctify time rather than space.
I have laid the table on my special 'Hannukah-Winter" tablecloth, and I have put silver and blue garland decorated with dreidls and Stars of David on the chandelier above. Although there is no specific decor for Hannukah, it is customary to Hiddur Mitzvah, beautify the commandment, for any Jewish observance. Blue and white for Hannukah is a modern custom, tying the victory of the Maccabees to the hard-earned miracle of the modern State of Israel by using the colors of the Israeli flag.
The storm ended in the night last night, and as the stars came out, the temperature dropped precipitously and the winds became very strong, blowing snow into drifts everywhere.
The golden sunshine is deceiving in this picture, as the temperature was 9 degrees F.
Our morning walk was frigid, though the dogs were happy to go out, and we had to stop frequently to remove packed snow from between canine toes!
We are a little tired of being snowbound, so we are waiting for the snowplow. A few hours away this evening would be a nice diversion!