Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shabbat Shalom!

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his word of creation, so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.
Genesis 2:1-3 (NLT)

Friday afternoon in Jerusalem had a Christmas Eve kind of bustle. Men in black hats, white shirts, and long flowing black coats and women with knitted caps, dark tights, and long skirts rushed along with purpose and urgency. Many pulled suitcases.

It was nearing sundown, nearing Shabbat, Saturday, the Sabbath.

Prayer at the Western Wall
One thing I believe observant Jews in Israel do very well is Sabbath rest. Since God created the universe and rested on the 7th day, Jews cease creative activity including cooking, working, starting a car (which creates fire), or turning on a light. This ‘Island in Time’ is an intentional shift from work, finances, and electronics to the faith, family, and soul. The rules ensure they slow down, drawing closer to God and each other.

There is much hard work in observing Shabbat. With no travel, families gather and stay together until after sundown on Saturday – hence the suitcases. The elaborate, multi-course Friday evening meal as well as all the Saturday food must be prepared in advance (hot plates are set on timers for warm food). Toilet paper is torn into sections and lights are programmed to go on and off automatically.

Lighting candles at sundown initiates Shabbat and creates a sense of peace in the home. In addition to conversation, the 2-3 hour Friday meal includes prayers to bless the children and a special prayer of thanks by the husband to his wife for preparing the meal. Challah bread represents the double portion of manna God provided in the desert on the Sabbath and salt is used as it was with every Temple sacrifice.

Can you imagine the benefits of this weekly observance? Close family relationships, active faith life, renewed spirit, and rested mind, among others.

Does Sabbath observance sound appealing? What aspects would you adopt?

#SeedsOfScripture #Israel #TripOfALifetime #P31HolyLand #Sabbath

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