As I it seems that I am trying to describe my week – let me carry on from where I left of. I don’t work on a Friday. Instead I get up a little bit later than normal, and head into town for coffee. I plug in the laptop, and work on my Masters discertation. I keep working till about 3.30pm, drinking far far more coffee than is good for my insides.
I then head back home, pick up my daughter, and head back out for a cup of tea with her. We sit and I attempt to chat with her about how her week has been. We then head home again and have a bath and change in preparation for Shabbat.
In Judaism a new day begins with nightfall as opposed to sunrise, Shabbat begins when 3 stars are visable in the sky on Friday night and ends an hour after 3 stars are visible in the sky on Saturday night. This makes Shabbat 25 hours instead of 24, an 1 hr is stolen from the week. We start Shabbat in the summer earlier still – lighting our Shabbat candles prior to going out to synagogue.
The candles are lit, the prayers are said, we give thanks for the wine and the bread – and then head to synagogue.
After synagogue we have a meal with my mum and step dad. The long suffering wife does the food prep before candle lighting, and any cooking or turning of ovens needed for the rest of the prep is done by my mother after candle lighting. This Friday my mum and step dad wherent free so we had chicken and salad so that we wouldn’t have to cook.
After dinner and coffee (by now 9.30pm) the wife puts our daughter to bed.
We then sit down on the sofa and watch a film together.
At this point those who have an idea of Jewish law may be hearing alarm bells ringing. There are 39 forms of creative activity which are forbidden on Shabbat – included in this list is kindling a flame (which many view as being breached by turning on or off any appliance). The second issue is that its forbidden to be involved in mundane ‘weekday’ activity – Uvdin D’Chol as this goes counter to the intended spirit of Shabbat.
For us we tend to believe that the prohibitions around Shabbat are intended to make sure that this is a special day and a peaceful one. It is a reminder that we are not living in slavery, a commemoration of God’s creation of the universe, and a taste of Olam Haba – the Messianic Age.
The only time during the week we find time to sit down and watch a film together is on Shabbat and so we take pleasure in this bit of alone time and don’t view it as Uvdin D’Chol but rather as a special bit of time we have carved out together. Currently we are working our way back through the John Hughes films which are a real joy to revisit as someone who watched them first time around in the 80s.
I say we watch this film as a bit of special carved out time, but we need to stop the film at least three times as the daughter stir in the evening.
Saturday day time is spent with a lay in followed by something done as a family – and some study. We went out for a walk and to feed the ducks this Saturday, then all sat in a café where we had some discussion on this weeks topic in our conversions studies.
As the day draws to a close we mark the end of Shabbat with Havdalah.