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Tag Archives: Shabbat

I know that I expressed gratitude for Sabbath Peace recently, and this is very similar. But this Shabbat the peace, the rest, took on special significance. Last Monday evening my dad suffered a life-threatening abdominal aneurysm. The further the week progressed, the more we realized the gravity of the situation. By Thursday it had sunk in for all of us that Dad was fighting for his life. We Futch’s have raised denial to an absolute art form, not necessarily a bad thing; it’s what helps us keep our heads up when life seems insurmountable. We laugh a lot. We are a cheerful lot through thick and thin. But by Thursday we were all worn, especially Mom who never left Dad’s side, and David and Sandy, my brother and sister-in-law, who stayed with Mom and Dad, made phone calls, talked with doctors, managed to squeeze in work, and more. The rest of us were in far-away states and could only sit by our phones, pray fervently for our father and friend, and wait for news. We had become fearful for Dad’s life, and with good reason. Doctors were honest in their assessments as they gently presented our options. Throughout the week flurried phone calls back and forth began early in the mornings and continued late into the nights each and every day. Normalcy ceased and crisis management governed our days. But Thursday evening the situation began to improve, and Friday dawned brighter as Dad’s color began to return to normal,the swelling from various procedures and blood leaking into his abdomen began to subside, and everyone~doctors included~regained hope for Dad’s recovery. By Friday we sighed a sigh of relief. . .somewhat. Friday is the day I prepare for the Sabbath, and this Friday was no different. Phone calls interrupted but the preparations continued through to completion. Minutes before candle-lighting which ushers in the Sabbath, I made my last calls home to my brother and then my mother. Dad had a few “hiccups” through the day but for the most part it was a good day. He is definitely improving. But for this daughter who would be out of touch with the family for the next 25 hours, there remained some angst over Dad’s condition. Blessedly, earlier in the day I received a welcome phone call from one of my best friends ever, and her voice was music to my ears. At the sound of her voice my eyes began to tear as I felt the release of pent-up emotion and my resolve begin to dissolve. Rochel Leah reminded me of the power of prayer and the many people around the world who are praying for Dad. She also reminded me of the strong connection we have with G-d as we light the Shabbat candles ushering in a time of holy rest. Rochel Leah urged me on reminding me that whatever the outcome, all will be good. She would be lighting candles, too, and when she lit, she would have Dad in mind. Shabbat is a time each week when we step away from the cares of the world, a time to smile and rejoice for the world that we have been given to live in with all of its hills and valleys. When I light the candles I lay down my cares and worries and enter into another realm. This Shabbat I visualized laying down my cares for Dad, switched to an attitude of gratitude, thanking Hashem for the man who is my Dad. This Shabbat we enjoyed good food, shared a meal with friends we hadn’t seen in years but who attended our wedding, walked in the sunlight on a glorious Saturday afternoon, and slept soundly during an afternoon nap. We went to the synagogue to daven/pray prayers of thanks and learn a little Torah. Life on this Shabbat was restful, joyful, revitalizing. When Shabbat drew to a close, my cares were where I had left them, and I picked them back up as I headed into a new week. But now there was energy and hopefulness that before was lagging. I picked up the phone to call home and get an update, but now I felt rested. As I write this post, I am acutely aware of many things for which I am thankful even in this post. But to sum it up, I am humbled and grateful for the rest that Shabbat provides for those of us who observe its laws. I am also grateful for a good report from home as I begin a new week.

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Today I am going from the lofty to the lowly, from the holy to the mundane. Yet, as I’ve aged (and matured, I hope) I discover that the lowly, insignificant things in life, those things we overlook or take for granted, are worthy of gratitude, too. In fact, the lowly stuff is the mortar that holds up the lofty stuff. As I write this post, Shabbat is almost upon us. I busily prepare the house and the food before lighting the Shabbat candles because once Shabbat arrives I will not cook or clean or engage in any activity that involves creating something new or different. Shabbat is the day we rest from the busyness that fills our lives with creative endeavors. At the same time however, the rabbis tell us we are to partake of hot meals and extend hospitality to friend and stranger alike. The conversation and hospitality piece is enjoyable and doable, but how does one offer a hot meal when forbidden to ignite a flame or flip a switch on the Sabbath? Ahhh, that is where our ingenuity comes in. Throughout history we read of the many creative ways Jewish home-makers concocted to keep food hot on Shabbat. Today we use crockpots. I have several because keeping kosher requires separate cookware for meat and milk. Besides cleaning the apartment, Fridays are also spent preparing Saturdays meals. The wonderful thing about crock pots is that I can prepare a dish in the pot, put it on to cook before Shabbat, then turn the temperature to low and leave all Shabbat so that we have a hot dish to serve with our meals. Voila! There you have it. 🙂 I am grateful for crockpots!

****Just so you know, this post was written before Shabbat and scheduled to post on Shabbat. I’m experimenting to see if this is something I will want to continue doing. We’ll see.

The Sabbath peace.  Shabbat Shalom.  In the upheaval of relocating and trying to find things in the mess that begs for order, I am a frazzled, short-tempered mess myself.  At sunset today however, a peace will descend on us as I light the candles and usher in the Sabbath. One of the first things I do with every move is dig out our Shabbat candelabra and get the buffet set  up so that when Shabbat arrives, we have at least one place in our big mess that is what we call “Shabbasdic,” a place that when the candles are lit, there is beauty and peace.  I will not lie; there are times when it is difficult to shut off all the voices and perceived demands that must be met.  I squirm when I feel that I “must” busily unpack more boxes or finish a paper to meet a deadline. In all honesty, Shabbat is not for the faint of heart.  Having made Shabbat a regular part of my life for the past 13 or 14 years however, I would not give it up.  It is that time of the week when we retreat from this world to a place that is holy, a place where we relax, reflect, and recoup.  Shabbat energizes our spirits and feeds our souls.  We sleep. We pray. We eat. We visit with friends. We learn Torah. Someone described Shabbat as an island in time, an appropriate analogy if ever there was one. This week I need for Shabbat to arrive. As much as there is to do to prepare for Shabbat, and as much as I have to do for my class before sunset, I admittedly feel some angst.  But whatever happens, where ever I am in my “planned agenda,” when Shabbat arrives, I stop what I’m doing and light the candles.  When that happens, peace and calm descends on our home. Every time.  So today I am extremely grateful for the Sabbath and for Shabbat Shalom that will soon arrive.

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