Re: Shabbat

MLJones628@aol.com
Fri, 10 Jan 1997 10:14:33 -0500 (EST)

In V3 #12, Gary Davidman asks:
<I'm trying to figure out what exactly it is that makes Shabbos a more
special day. What is Shabbos supposed to mean to us? >

What a wonderful question! As a soon-to-be convert, I'll be glad to share
what it means to me.

First and foremost, Shabbat is special because G-d commanded it to be so, and
in the "Big Ten", no less. But that's only the beginning of what makes it
special for me. When I wake up each Friday morning (and this is one of them)
I find myself filled with excitement and generally singing in Hebrew some
song from the Shabbat service that may or may not have anything to do with
anything. That doesn't bother me in the least because Shabbat is my day, my
24 hours, to not have to "think" but to just "be." It becomes more special
as I begin to "find my kitchen" so that I might either make challah or thaw
out one that I have in the freezer. I live alone, you see, and as I do these
chores (sometimes begrudgingly) I find that I am not doing this alone ...
there are other sisters out there who are doing the very same thing! It
always makes unpleasant tasks go more smoothly when one is not doing them
alone.

Community quickly becomes the theme of my day. I bathe luxuriously and then
dress as though I were going to meet and celebrate with this wonderful
Shabbos bride. Then I have a very simple Shabbat service usually for just
myself and my big old cat. It's the one day that I don't eat on the sofa in
front of the TV but instead, set a small table and treat myself to warmth and
elegance and some soothing music. I don't want to hear the news tonight,
thank you. After supper, I head out for the forty minute drive to be with my
congregation.

In the synagogue is where I pull my week together and fortify myself for the
week ahead. I learn things. I center myself. I become aware of others who
might need my help whether in prayer or action. I see a glimpse of the world
to come and, blissfully realize that I am not totally responsible for Tikkun
Olam all by myself ... there is this whole wonderful community of my family
around me to add their talents with mine. Not only does this evening service
help me replenish my energy but it helps to condition me to pray for renewal
during other times, outside of schul. Hey, we all need "little boosts" to
our energy during the week and there is nothing more potent than a burst of
Shabbat Simcha!

At home, after schul, I begin to wind down and enjoy the "rest and peace"
part of Shabbat. I read or write a little and then go to bed. As I fall
asleep, I think of my Jewish Community family a few time zones to the west of
me. They are right in the middle of the Aleinu or they are connecting and
bonding with each other at Oneg Shabbat and I drift off to sleep feeling as
though Shabbat is a wonderful, never-ending spiral that keeps going around
and coming back ... a sure and stable gift that will always be there and can
never be taken away from me. Those images, those assurances, that joy
totally influences sunrise to sunset on Saturday no matter how mundane or how
busy things might have to become. Though I don't always end Shabbat with a
formal service, I always say "Good-bye and thank You." in some way, shape or
form. And if you listen with focused intent, you will probably hear a little
voice whispering, "See Ya next week!"

Shabbat Shalom in abundance!
Mimi Jones