The Beauty and Wisdom of Shabbat
October 28, 2016

Rabbi Royi Shaffin
Shabbat candles flicker as the flames dance with the joy of Shabbat. Their light illuminates the world, chases away darkness, and reminds us of the creation of light. We appreciate the gift of sight, the ability to perceive the beauty of the world that God created. We use the opportunity of lighting the candles to connect with our Heavenly Parent and ask for blessings of good health, long life, income and blessings for our families, for children, for peace in the home (sh’lom bayit), for peace in our souls, and for a holy, special Shabbat. While our eyes are covered and we are engaged in conversation with HaShem, we can say anything that is on our minds and ask for anything.  
A cup full of wine, the substance of gladness and of sanctification. The cup overfloweth so that gladness and joy should fill our lives. Grapes are the fruit of love. This is our marriage. Lecha Dodi. Come, my beloved… The Shabbat Queen, the Shabbat Bride all dressed in white has entered our synagogues and our hearts. Shabbat is upon us.
Two challahs represent the double portion of mana which God provided for us for Shabbat while we were traveling in the wilderness so that we would not have to work on Shabbat. We are reminded of God’s love, protection, and caring, of having trust in God and in the imperative to rest from all labor on this one day each week.
Sitting around the table we are a family and a community. This is the opportunity to show appreciation for each one of us and the special role we play. Traditionally, a husband sings Eshey Chayil to his wife, calling her his woman of valor.

Children are blessed by both parents invoking the way in which our ancestors blessed their children as well as the birkat kohanim, the priestly blessing with which the kohanim were instructed to bless the people.
“A cathedral in time,” Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heachel calls the Shabbat. Indeed, Shabbat is a time to separate ourselves from all technology, emails, phone calls, demands, and work. On Shabbat we are beyond time and space. On Shabbat we are free to take deep breaths, to rest, to recover from the week, and to re-energize our bodies and our souls.

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