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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
Wed, August 21 2019 20 Av 5779