Perfect Moment Monday: Shabbat Shalom

October 6, 2008

Lori from Weebles Wobblog has inspired me in many ways. Today, she has inspired me to write my first Perfect Moment Monday post.

My husband and I have both been working a lot of 7-day weeks lately. His natural tendency is to work every day, with some days heavier than others based on the ebb and flow of his workload. My normal routine was to work 5 or maybe 6 days (with only a few hours on the 6th day). Since I got the 2nd full-time job, working 7 days a week has become necessary. (I used to take a day off during the week occasionally to go to the pottery studio — unimaginable now!) It’s not just a bit of work on the weekends like I used to do. It’s been more like 10-hour work days on the weekends, on top of the 12-hour weekdays. Yuck.

So this weekend, I declared a no-work zone.

In Judaism, the period from Friday evening to Saturday evening is the sabbath. In over a decade of observing various aspects of Judaism (more on that in my next post), I have never observed a real sabbath, or Shabbat in Hebrew. Shabbat includes some Do’s and some Don’ts. The biggest Do is that some sort of religious study and reflection should occur. Most families engage in a lot of extra family togetherness. Depending on how observant a person is, Shabbat’s Don’ts can range from not going to the office to full prohibition of all things considered “work.” To religious Jews (including some of my husband’s family), “work” includes things that the rest of us wouldn’t consider to be work, such as using electricity, driving a car, touching money, and carrying objects (unless you are within a special boundary called an eruv). DH has never gone along with those strict definitions, and in fact as a teen, he would seize Shabbat as an opportunity to borrow relatives’ cars since they weren’t going to drive anyway.

At several points early in our marriage, I asked DH if he wanted to observe Shabbat. He always said no. Since I have followed his lead when it comes to religion (though I may never have followed his lead on anything else!), unless we were with his family we have always treated Shabbat like any other day. The extent of my own acknowledgement of the day has been to wish my Israeli friends “Shabbat Shalom” when we would say goodbye at the end of the work day on Fridays.

But this week, after so many weeks of working 7 days a week all day, plus DH having two business trips in one week and barely seeing each other, I put my foot down. I declared a real Shabbat, free from work and filled with togetherness.

That is exactly what we had.

Friday night, we went out to dinner. Then we went to a bookstore.

That evening, I actually did some reading of the Torah and research into all of the mitzvot (Hebrew plural of mitvah).

Saturday morning, we enjoyed some, uh, intimacy. I won’t give any details, but I will gleefully mention that because of the timing of my cycle, it had nothing to do with making babies. For people who’ve been TTC for almost 7 years, that’s a very good thing sometimes.

Then we went out for brunch.

Then we engaged in a belated Tashlich for Rosh Hashanah. My first, in fact. Also my husband’s first, in fact. Despite coming from a religious upbringing, Tashlich was never something they did.

Lollipop Goldstein has already described Tashlich fabulously. Since it was my first time but she has done it many times, I’ll just let you read her explanation.

DH and I each declared some things that we wanted to let go of for the coming year, either sins, regrets, or things we just don’t want anymore. Instead of writing them on paper, which I consider littering, nor tossing bread crumbs into the river, which is forbidden because it interferes with the ecosystem, I wrote each of our castaways on a leaf. I figured that throwing a leaf into a river wasn’t really pollution, even if it has a little ink on it.

We went to one of our favorite local riverbanks and threw our leaves into the water.

We spent the rest of the day talking, hanging out, and laughing — more than we have done cumulatively in the previous 2 weeks. I followed up on the previous night’s religious study with questions such as, “What’s up with the mitzvah about the guy who can’t eat raisins?” and discussion of the ancient Israelites’ wisdom concerning crop rotation.

When Shabbat was over, at nightfall, I shook our Havdalah spice box. We have a beautiful antique silver Havdalah spice box that DH’s late grandmother owned. For the first time since it came into our house, I shook the box and filled the room with the scent of cloves to indicate that Shabbat was over.

Then, DH asked if we could continue our work moratorium for the rest of the evening. He said that if we didn’t prohibit work, he’d feel obligated to spend the rest of the night working. We agreed to take the rest of the night off.

We both worked all day on Sunday, but it was fantastic to have a real Shabbat. It was also amazing to connect so intensely with my sweetheart. We may just continue the tradition in the weeks to come.

Head over to Weebles Wobblog if you want to see other people’s perfect moments.

7 Responses to “Perfect Moment Monday: Shabbat Shalom”

  1. Lori Says:

    Delightful in so many ways, but especially in the leaf ritual. Also the cloves. I’m easy when it comes to things that feel good.

    So glad you’re part of Perfect Moment Mondays!

  2. Nity Says:

    Thanks for explaining so beautifully. It sounded like a fabulous day and I love the leaf idea.

  3. […] bookmarks tagged laughing Perfect Moment Monday: Shabbat Shalom saved by 4 others     spitfire1433 bookmarked on 10/06/08 | […]

  4. Malky B. Says:

    Beautiful lake picture. I just did Tashlich today with my daughter!

  5. Emma Says:

    as a couple my DH and i have always benefited from taking a day or so to just shut the rest of the world out to focus on each other and centering ourselves, especially spiritually. sounds like the two of ya’ll had a wonderful weekend and i love the leaf idea!

    and btw…i am definitely bitter about my cousins having two babies before they’re legally allowed to drink. it’s not fair any way that you look at it. they’re thousands of miles away, so i don’t have to be in the middle of that “situation” all the time…that helps.

  6. Oh, I love the idea of this. I want to do the same thing as soon as things quiet down for CH and me. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Sassy Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is a really beautiful post. I love the leaves idea too.

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