Who Needs Shabbat? ME, That’s Who!

Our schedule is crazy lately. I know, I know, whose isn’t? My two big boys are both playing baseball this spring, and will soon be starting up select basketball. Both sports run concurrently (so, 2 boys playing 2 sports = NO free time, really) through early July.  This schedule, plus a 30-minute drive to synagogue means we don’t get to services nearly as often as I’d like. And while there are nights I could go on my own, or just the baby and I could go, it just doesn’t happen. Much as I love our congregation and rabbi, I’m not sure I’m brave enough to go (and wrestle my munchkin into some form of quiet-ness for an hour) on my own.

Lately, with some stuff that’s been going on, I’ve NEEDED a reconnection with something bigger than myself. I’ve needed something to remind me that some of the pettiness and general sometimes-it-stinks-to-be-a-grown-up crud I’ve been dealing with is, really and truly, small potatoes. I don’t really have a church home anymore, and, honestly, Sunday mornings are one of our FEW quiet times as a family, so I enjoy them at home. So, what’s a (gentile) girl to do?

I’ve found great comfort in us lighting the Shabbat candles lately. It’s not always right at sundown, and I don’t always get to rest or study or simply enjoy their gentle glow. But I do get the reminder that there’s something bigger out there than me and my daily struggles and joys. I get to share the blessing with my boys. Most times, Daddy lights the candles and says the blessing. One week, I did it. I loved doing it. Bubba found one of the baby’s books that has the transliteration of several Shabbat prayers (I’ve mentioned it here, before, My Shabbat) and pulled it out on his own to try to sound through some of the other simple blessings. Bear got in on that, too. It’s still all “fun” for them, but I like that they’re curious enough to try, and to ask.

More recently, I’ve lit the candles on my own, when Daddy and the big boys were out, and it was just Baby Boy and me. I even braved last week’s Tot Shabbat (once a month at our synagogue) – just Baby and me. (He loved it, by the way, danced and sang and wanted to go “up dere” on the bimah, and cried and cried when it was time to go home.)

So, while I continue to work on my own spiritual journey, I hope to continue at least lighting the candles on Friday nights to bring me back out of myself and the myopic view of life I tend to develop during our hectic weekdays. And even if my journey doesn’t lead me to any kind of conversion, I think I probably will always need Shabbat.

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3 thoughts on “Who Needs Shabbat? ME, That’s Who!

  1. That book sounds like a great resource. There are so many with that title… Do you know the author? Was it [url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1584763515/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=interfaithfam-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1584763515]this one, with pop-out foam pieces[/url]?

  2. What a poignant story!  Taking time for yourself is so hard.

    As a small child, one addition to our Shabbat evening that I’m sure I started was listening to three Israeli records after dinner.  In fact, I often fell asleep on the floor next to the stereo.  I wonder whether some music that you saved for Shabbat would add to your sense of renewal.  (I can recommend some CDs, if you’d like. Or you can connect to our community and ask others, too, at http://www.facebook.com/JewishHolidaysinaBox.)

    Good on you for looking for spiritual nourishment. 

    My silly thing is to save a Chagall mug to drink from only on Shabbat :)

    Take care,
    Ellen Zimmerman

  3. Benjamin, I’m sorry I didn’t see your comment on here earlier. I can’t get the link to pull up, but I would guess that is the book Sam has. His definitely has pop out soft foam shapes.

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