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Join Us for Soulful Shabbat

Soulful Shabbat Week 4: Blessing those we love

Soulful Shabbat Week 3: Saying Hamotzi/Breaking Bread

Soulful Shabbat Week 2: Making Kiddush/Sanctifying the Day

Dear Bnai Keshet,
Welcome to week 2 of our Soulful Shabbat series.  This week we are making kiddush and sanctifying the day of Shabbat.  While the full Hebrew text of kiddush is more challenging than that of lighting candles, do not fret!  Feel free to sing just the short one line blessing over wine, or to recite the prayer in English translation.  Whether we say kiddush every week or are doing it for the first time, we are all always on a path of learning.  
Some say we use wine for this ritual to remember the wine libation of the Temple, others say wine just reminds us to be joyful, and still others say that wine reminds us of weddings and Shabbat is a mystical wedding between God and the Jewish people.  The explanation I (Rabbi Ariann) like the best, though, goes like this.  It takes 7 years for a vineyard to produce wine-quality grapes, and thus wine is a symbol of being rooted to place and time.  Wine points uniquely to the Jewish community landing in a place and staying put.  
If wine is a symbol of our freedom to build homes and plant vineyards, it is the perfect vehicle for us to declare: Shabbat reminds us of an orderly Creation, where rest and rejuvenation are woven into the very fabric of time from the beginning and also, Shabbat also reminds us of our profound freedom from slavery and our ability to not only claim a right to rest, but to assert it.  Kiddush (which means "sanctification") is a moment of transformation.  While candle lighting brings in Shabbat, kiddush is a moment of saying "this is why we're here."  It layers consciousness on top of action.  
If you don't enjoy or have wine, grape juice makes an excellent substitute, and in a pinch, beer, apple juice, or even water will do.  But wine or grape juice is especially nice.  
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ariann and Rabbi Elliott

Soulful Shabbat Lesson #1: Lighting Candles

Dear Bnai Keshet,

It's time for our first Soulful Shabbat installment: Lighting Candles/Making a Separation.  

If you're an absolute beginner at lighting candles, then your challenge is clear: just get them lit!  Use traditional candle sticks and candles, tea lights, or even improvised oil lights (you need a glass, a weighted wick which can be made of twine or thick cotton string, and some olive oil).  We are all beginners at one point or another.  This week, the two of us were beginner videographers.  Like you, we will improve!  


Feel free to read the blessings in Hebrew or in English, whatever makes you more comfortable.  Here is a very slow primer on singing the blessings in Hebrew.

If you are a regular candle lighter, or a semi-regular lighter, what can you do this week to bring more a greater intention to your lighting?  How can you more fully separate yourself from the work of the week and Shabbat?  How can you be more present to appreciate the light of Shabbat entering your home?  

You may choose to add a kavanah (a spoken intention or prayer) to your candle lighting practice this week.  

Here are some options:
Trisha Arlin's "We Must Pray and We Must Do"
Sarah bas Tovim's Techineh for Candle Lighting

Hannah Szenes: Blessed is the Match
Blessed is the match that's consumed in kindling a flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret depths of the heart.

Shas Tkhines (from a collection of women's prayers/tkhines, author unknown)
Almighty God,
Grand me and all my loved ones
A chance truly to rest on this Shabbat.
May the light of the candles drive out from among us
The spirit of anger, the spirit of harm.
Send your blessings to my children,
That they may walk in the ways of your Torah, your light.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ariann and Rabbi Elliott

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784