Teachings: Shabbat – Shabbos

Understanding Shabbat as a Spiritual Practice

Ask most Jews what the holiest day of the year is and assuredly the answer you will most likely hear is “Yom Kippur.” While Yom Kippur is certainly a very holy day, did you know that within the Jewish tradition there is also a deeply-held conviction that each and every Shabbat is the holiest day of the year? This is why Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is also referred to as the “Sabbath of Sabbaths.” Every Shabbat, Jews practice traditions that are enriched with spiritual meaning. In this article, let us explore these deeper meanings.

Guided Meditation for the Flame

You can do this meditation on your own or with a group. I've attached a full-size printable copy of the image to this page. On Shabbat, Hanukkah or any holiday with candles is a particularly nice time to do this, or for a class. If with a group, let your guests know you have guided visualization to share which will involve some chanting first, and some silence afterward. Tell them you will let them know when to emerge from the silence which will last for a few minutes.

Lecha Dodi through a Spiritual Lens

Lecha Dodi, "To You My Beloved" is an ode to Shabbat which is sung during Friday night Sabbath services. It was written by the sixteenth century Kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo HaLevy Alkabetz. Our ancestors loved this prayer and retained it for us.  Have you had occasion to dwell upon the verses? To read even one line in modern idiom can be quite surprising. 

A verse from L'ha Dodi for your contemplion:

Welcoming Shabbat's Mystical Spirit

Imagine This:

In a few days a favorite friend will arrive to stay with you for over-night and one full day. This friend always brings out your best self. Looking around you, you come up with a list of ways to ready your home to be welcoming for your friend. You clear your calendar for the whole day. There are favorite things you will want to do together.

Dinner. Hmm. You begin to plan something special. You shop in advance for just the right wine, the perfect bread, and as a real treat, a seriously decadent dessert. As you shop, the pleasure this visit will give your guest is a warm, happy place in your thoughts.
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