Shabbat Shalom, Shelter at Home

One shiksa’s take on the possibilities of a moment in time when everything that is non-essential is set aside…

Zwei KerzenTwo Candles
by Gerhard Richter

As these Shabbat candles give light 
to all who behold them,
so may we, by our lives, give light to all who behold us.

As their brightness reminds us 
of the generations of Israel who have kindled light
so may we, in our day, be among those who kindle light.

Rabbi Chaim Stern (1930 -2001)

What is Shabbat or the Jewish Sabbath?  According to Jewish tradition, it is a day of rest and an opportunity for spiritual expansion and replenishment.  The word comes from the verb שבת or “shabat” in Hebrew and means to cease or rest.  Christians and Muslims also observe a Sabbath, although on different days and with different customs.

There are two distinct aspects to Shabbat.  To rest in a literal sense, and to regenerate in a spiritual sense.  

In Jewish tradition, two candles are lit representing two aspects of the fourth commandment in the Torah “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy”.  One for zahor, which means to remember, and the other shamor which means to observe.

Zahor – To Remember

“Arise, now, shake off the dust,
Don your robes of glory – my people – you must…

Remember who you are!

By slowing the momentum globally, we are all being given an opportunity to pause and remember who we really are, to reset our course and move in the direction of what we really want.  To arrive at a state of connection, inner and outer alignment and to move past the need to look outside of ourselves to solve our problems.

We are being given an opportunity to find the light within.

Many are calling this post-awakening period the Great Remembering.

Shamor – To Observe

“Wake up, wake up,
Your light has come, rise and shine…”

Focus from a state of connection.  Focus on the solution and the world you want to live in on the other side of this experience.  

Be nicer to yourself and everyone around you.  This is not a permanent situation.  Our isolation is fleeting but it can be observed to our advantage.  We can observe the protection of our sacredness by isolating ourselves from the critics of our life experience.  We can stay six feet back from anyone who does not believe we are worthy or is critical of us for any reason.  We can quarantine ourselves from the shamers and the scarcity mobs.

Be among those who kindle light!

It may sound crazy, but this opportunity may not come again in our lifetime.  

This is the Great Shabbat!  

We are being given occasion to guiltlessly lay aside our cares, free ourselves from our dependencies, our electronic devices, gossips and distractions.  To deeply rest the body and nurture the soul.  It is a cosmic pass to stretch our toes, relax our rules and dream a little.  

Keep the Shabbat!

Light two candles of your own. One to acknowledge your magnificence, glorious divinity and eternal sovereignty; and the other to light the path of wisdom, trust and patience.  To know that all is well and to lovingly observe that which is essential in this life and this life circumstance.  

Whatever you think or feel, you must walk the path.  The real question is are you going to arrive weakened and depleted or replenished and joy-filled?

Up to you….

But no matter what mode you choose, at the end of the day…

Love Is All That Matters!

Lecha Dodi

A Shabbat prayer by Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi Alkabetz; original translation by Moshe Miller

Come out my Beloved, the Bride to meet;
The inner light of Shabbat, let us greet.

“Observe” and “Remember” in a single word,
He caused us to hear, the One and Only Lord.
G‑d is One and His Name is One,
For renown, for glory and in song.

To welcome the Shabbat, let us progress,
For that is the source, from which to bless.
From the beginning, chosen before time,
Last in deed, but in thought – prime.

Sanctuary of the King, city royal,
Arise, go out from amidst the turmoil.
In the vale of tears too long you have dwelt,
He will show you the compassion He has felt.

Arise, now, shake off the dust,
Don your robes of glory – my people – you must.
Through the son of Jesse, the Bethelemite,
Draw near to my soul, set her free from her plight.

Wake up, wake up,
Your light has come, rise and shine.
Awaken, awaken; sing a melody,
The glory of G‑d to be revealed upon thee.

Be not ashamed, nor confounded,
Why are you downcast, why astounded?
In you, refuge for My poor people will be found,
The city will be rebuilt on its former mound.

May your plunderers be treated the same way,
And all who would devour you be kept at bay.
Over you Your G‑d will rejoice,
As a groom exults in his bride of choice.

To right and left you’ll spread abroad,
And the Eternal One you shall laud.
Through the man from Peretz’s family,
We shall rejoice and sing happily.

Come in peace, her Husband’s crown of pride,
With song (on Festivals: rejoicing) and good cheer.
Among the faithful of the people so dear
Enter O Bride, enter O Bride;

O Bride, Shabbat Queen, now come here!

Come out my Beloved, the Bride to meet;
The inner light of Shabbat, let us greet.

Zwei Kerzen
Two Candles
Gerhard Richter
Oil on canvas
140 cm x 140 cm 
Catalogue Raisonné: 512-2

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