Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hannukah -Shabbat-Snow Day

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!


No Apology said...

Elisheva, many wonderful things have come about this year, and I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. For one, I have re-united with my estranged daughter, which is the work "of Spirit alone", So grateful for that!

As for the weather here, I'm way out on the SE plains, where the Arkansas. and Pergatoire rivers cross, and we haven't had much snow yet. But the winter is young.

So happy to see such faith in you and your family. It's so inspiring to see a family grounded in goodness.

May we always follow the good.

God bless, NA

Kaber said...

am I ignorant to be suprised New Mexico gets so much snow?

Did Boychick (chick makes me think of girl) do better this time? I love reading about the Jesish Traditions and have always wanted to learn more and evn observe some of the Jewish Celebrations. I believe the Old Testament and all that hapened there and know how important it is to my Christian roots, but I always feel that Jewish Holidays are sacred and it'd be wrong for me to take part. How do Jews view that?

Mama Monkey said...

The table looks absolutely beautiful! :-)

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Hi, Everyone!
I hope you all are ready for 2009!

NA: Thanks for the update. I am so happy for you and your daughter. There is nothing sweeter than to renew old ties.

Kaber: Although it is in the Southwest, New Mexico has elevations that are a good deal higher than most of Arizona. Albuquerque (at 5000 - 6000 ft.) did get some snow this week and had very cold temperatures over the weekend. But we live in the mountains at around 7500 ft. and we get lots of snow!

About "boychick": It is Yiddish. A Yiddishe mama will call her boy who is not quite a man a "boychick", which has the same meaning as boychild. He's not quite a man and still under his Mama's wing in important ways. Thus the "chick" does not mean a girl, but rather means a little chick that the mother hen gathers under her wing.

About Jewish ritual: You ask how do Jews view other observing Jewish holidays? Well, it depends on the Jew. Two Jews, three opinions! But seriously, there are some things that it would not be proper for a non-Jew to do. Carry the Torah, say a blessing. The Torah is a symbol of our covenant, and you are not part of that unless you are a Jew. Blessings for observing commandments have a line that says--who has made us holy by your commandments--and since a non-Jew is not bound to observe Jewish law, a non-Jew cannot say that line. So.
On the other hand, a non-Jew coming to the home of Jews to celebrate with them is welcomed.