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Shabbat Challenge Lab Experiment One: Light! Beverages! Food!

04/10/2015 01:01:02 PM

Apr10

Shabbat Challenge Lab
Experiment One: Light! Beverages! Food!

For this first week of our Shabbat Challenge Lab we are inviting you to add to your Shabbat by including more light, more good drink, more good food and more anything else that might deepen your sensory experience.  The blessings on Friday nights are centered around material things that are meant increase our joy: candles, wine and challah. (For those not eating bread products during Passover, matzah is our challah this Shabbat.) Think for a moment what a difference candles would make to your ability to enjoy an evening if you had no other lights. Or what it might mean to have two loaves of bread, a glass of wine and a nice meal when you might otherwise be hungry.
 
Shabbat is sometimes called a taste of the World to Come, the world as it should be and the sensory aspect of this metaphor is not an accident. We are meant to actually have more pleasing experiences on Shabbat than we do the rest of the week. 
 
So Part 1: Think about ways you can heighten the beauty and tastes of your Shabbat. Perhaps plan a special meal or dessert. Or light candles or have flowers. Feel free to think creatively about what you might add to your Shabbat that will help appreciate it at physical and sensory level.
 
Part 2: Offer a blessing.  Part of the power of blessings in general and on Shabbat in particular is that they help us to mindfully set an intention before acting. When we say a blessing we are purposefully delaying our gratification or our action so that we can better appreciate the sensation and its meaning in the moment. 
 
If you don’t already say the Friday night blessings here is a link to guide you. Sing along or read without a melody. Use the Hebrew or transliteration, but somehow give it a try. 
 
If you already say these blessings or prefer a different option – try finding a way to offer words of appreciation for the special items you have added for enjoyment. This might be a spontaneous prayer or short toast. Or it could be a few moments of silence. The goal is through words, prayer, ritual or silence to acknowledge that the goodness you have prepared and are about to experience is for the sake of sweetening Shabbat. 
 
Finally – remember this is a wholly unscientific experiment. You can’t mess up. The data need not be quantifiable. If you don’t like wine choose another beverage. If you prefer sushi over chicken soup; no problem. If you take inspiration from Passover and decide to eat while reclining on the sofa instead of at the table; why not? Your playfulness is a Shabbat worthy part of the process.  

Did you join the "Secret" Shabbat Challenge Lab Facebook page?

Email Alma Schneider for an invite if you didn't get one yet.

Sat, May 25 2019 20 Iyar 5779