One of my absolute favorite Jewish bloggers in the entirety of the internet is Rabbi Ruth Adar of The Coffee Shop Rabbi. Her entire blog is geared toward those interested in learning more about living Judaism, either because they weren’t raised religious or because they, like me, are converting. She has posts on everything from being “Jewish enough” to welcoming others to Shabbat meals. It’s a great blog that I recommend subscribing to.
So, I swear that Rabbi Adar posts on the very topics I’m struggling with. And the latest post to come into my mailbox is no different. The title is, “Shabbat Isn’t Just Friday Night“. In her post, she addresses the common misconception that Shabbat is only on Fridays. It’s not! Christianity moved the “sabbath” to Sunday during waking hours. In Judaism, Shabbat is actually from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. Completely different!
She lists some reasons why Saturday Shabbat can be just as restful and meaningful as celebrating on Fridays:
Yes, the Saturday morning Torah service is long. It’s also beautiful, and we get to take the Torah out and march around with it and handle it and read from it. There are few more powerful ways to connect with our ancient past (more about Torah scrolls in a future post, I promise.)
Saturday kiddush lunch is the meal after the Saturday morning service. It might be at synagogue, or it might be at home. It starts with the kiddush (a toast to Shabbat, basically) and involves tasty food eaten in a leisurely fashion, preferably with friends. Yum.
Saturday afternoon is full of possibilities. For starters, there is Napping. Napping on Shabbat is glorious and decadent: it perhaps says better than anything that we are not slaves.
Saturday “naps” can also be put in quotations. If there is a time during the week when it is the accepted routine for the entire family to nap, that frees parents for affection and lovemaking.
Saturday afternoon can also be a time for hanging out and chatting. Before electronics took over every nanosecond of our lives, when the world was young… you remember. Or not. But that world can come back for a little while on Saturday afternoon.
And then – let’s be real here – maybe your world is set up in such a way that Friday evening Shabbat, services or dinner, simply can’t be observed properly. If that is the case, then don’t despair – find some Shabbat on Saturday.
I have so many things I have to do on Fridays, the longest of which is shuttle my kids to exchange every other Friday night. Did I mention I live over half an hour away from my work, and that I must drive out of town and back into town to do this? Unfortunately, this makes it so that I might not come home with the rest of the kiddos until 7 or so. And by then, everyone is hungry, antsy, and tired. And even when I don’t have exchange, it’s usually been a long week. At best, I can manage candles and some prayers and maybe some snuggles.
I’ve struggled with making challah in time for Fridays to set some sort of tradition for my kids. And services? ack, not on Friday! I’m looking for somewhere to go on Saturdays, and I think I’ll go this weekend. I just feel bad. I don’t have the luxury of not working, and I don’t live inside the eruv anymore to be close to any synagogues. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only person who finds Fridays hard. The point is – trying. Making it special for my family anyway. And getting together with others in the community at least sometime during Shabbat.
Oh, and she also has a nifty post about what to cook on Shabbat. See: “Oy! What to Cook for Shabbat? said the Non-Cook”
Do you have questions about Shabbat traditions? Or want to share your own, or tips for setting up family traditions? I want to know!