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A meaningful, creative Shabbat for your family

November 2016

Are you looking for meaning and purpose for you and your family? Are you craving unplugged time? Real conversation? Go back to the basis of Judaism and con-sider adding Shabbat ritual to your family life.

Consider this:

The Sabbath

“The meaning of the Sabbath is to
Celebrate time rather than space.
Six days a week we live under the
Tyranny of things of space;
On the Sabbath we try to become
Attuned to holiness in time.
It is a day on which we are called upon
To share in what is eternal in time,
To turn from the results of creation
To the mystery of creation,
From the world of creation to
The creation of the world.”

—Abraham Joshua Heschel

Or this story:

The Secret of the Sabbath Spice

Once upon a time, there was a very rich king who ruled over a very big kingdom. This king loved to eat. One day, as he traveled through the deep forest on his way home to his castle, he smelled a wonderful aroma from a poor man’s hut. He ordered all his attendants to stop as he explored these enticing fragrances. Suddenly, the king felt very hun-gry. He asked his assistant to knock at the door and announce that the king wished to join the peasant for dinner.

The king entered the hut. It was very simple but spot-lessly clean. The children were dressed neatly. They quietly watched as their mother, Rochie, lit two candles and recited the blessing. They all sat down at the table, which was covered with a white cloth. A beautiful handmade challah cover was placed over two golden, braided loaves of bread. The children gathered around their par-ents as a blessing was recited over them. The father, Moshe, chanted Kiddush on the wine, then recited Motzi over the challot. The Sabbath meal then began: chicken soup, chicken, kugel, sweet tsimmes. The family sang Shabbat zemirot as each course was served. The king felt more peaceful and happy then he had in months. He couldn’t remember ever having a more delicious meal! The king thanked the family for sharing their Sabbath dinner.

He asked Rochie for her recipes so that his cooks could prepare a Sabbath dinner for him at the castle. Rochie promised to send the recipes after Shabbat had ended.

The following week, the king’s chefs followed the recipes exactly. The butlers nervously served the king and awaited his reaction. He became more upset with each course. “This is not what I tasted at Moshe and Rochie’s home,” he proclaimed.

The chief cook was sent to the hut in the forest to learn directly from Rochie. He returned and again prepared the dishes. The following night the meal was served. The cooks anxiously watched as the king tasted the food. Again, he was disappointed and upset. It just was not the same deli-cious, peaceful meal he remembered. This time, the king called for his carriage and ordered his attendants to take him to Moshe’s hut. He angrily accused Rochie of conceal-ing secret spices she had used in her recipes. She listened with concern to the angry king. She then smiled and patiently explained, “My dear king, the secret of the Sab-bath spice depends on you. It is not an ingredient that I put in the food. It is an ingredient each of us has inside of us. You see, your majesty, the delicious flavor of this meal comes from observing God’s mitzvot on His day of rest and the delight we take in keeping the Sabbath.”

—Story adapted from: “The Sabbath Spice,” Stories from Our Living Past, Behrman House, 1974

Some families wishing to mark Shabbat as a special day establish traditions that are particularly meaningful to them. Shabbat finds its most rewarding expression in the sim-ple rituals you follow in your home. * Involve your children in preparations for Shabbat and Shabbat traditions and rituals

* Have them participate in planning the menu for the Shab-bat meal; try to use family recipes. Take them food shop-ping for the ingredients and allow them to take part in cooking the dishes or baking the challah or dessert.

* Enlist the children’s help in straightening up the house and set-ting the table. Use crafts made by your children — challah covers, candlesticks, Kiddush cups, etc.

* When possible, fulfill the mitzva of hachnasat orchim (hospitality) by inviting guests for Shabbat dinner.

* Everyone in the family should give tzedakah (charity) before lighting the Shabbat candles. During dinner discuss which worthy cause or community project the money should go to.

* Have children participate in all the Shabbat rituals — candlelighting, Kiddush, and Motzi.

* Sing Shabbat songs between courses. During the meal give each family member the opportunity to talk about an important part of their week

* After dinner, unplug and play a game.

* On Saturday, have a special Shabbat breakfast. In the after-noon, get together with another family with children and do fun activities that add to the “specialness” of Shabbat.

 * Make Havdalah to mark the end of Shabbat.

You are welcome to take part in the many Shabbat experiences at CAI, including:

* Friday, Nov. 4: Kabbalat Shabbat, 7 p.m. (all ages and stages)

* Friday, Nov. 18: Shabbat in PJ and Sweats, 5:30 p.m. (ECC and primary families)

* Saturday, Nov. 19: Shabbat Camp, 11 a.m. (3rd-6th grade families)

* Every Saturday, 11 a.m.: Torah for Tots (ECC age), Mini-Minyan (K-2nd grade), Junior Congregation (3rd-7th grades), Teen Schmooze

If you need guidance on or suggestions for creating a meaningful Shabbat, let’s schmooze! Shabbat Shalom!

April 19,2024 /  11 Nisan 5784