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Shabbos Chic Blog

Friday light

Just One Shabbat Can Change The World!

This inspiring talk by Rebbetzin Yemima Mizrachi will leap into your heart and motivate you to light Shabbos Candles this week, and every week. Enjoy!

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Rebbetzin Yemima Mizrachi: Just One Shabbos
We are the lights of Shabbat

Shevii Shel Pesach 5775


Shabbos is Not Just One Day

This week I began to explore the idea of Chatzos, which means getting prepared for Erev Shabbos by noon on Friday.

It's a wonderful goal, and once it becomes a habit I know I'll be more peaceful and enjoy the menucha or peace of Shabbos easily at candle-lighting time.

It's a bit tricky during the winter months when sunset comes early...


"When all of the ideologies that were supposed to redeem us from our troubles have visibly and miserably failed, the Shabbat remains a beacon of light and hope for Israel and a symbol of our eternal covenant with our Creator."

The idea of preparing in advance is lovely, but often seems impractical, until we make it a priority. I WANT to make it a priority now. It's a way to show respect for the Sabbath, but also for myself.

When the food is prepared and the table is set by noon, or at least several hours prior to candle-lighting time, and I have bathed and put on fresh clothing, that is showing respect in all ways. It brings Shabbos all the way into Friday, making it last more than one day each week.

Chatzos is Shalom Bayit in action.

"The more the mental anticipation and actual preparation for Shabbos, the more one will taste Shabbos.

The more one will treasure it, will center one's life around it, the more one will be at ease on Shabbos.

Every Shabbos is New

Shabbos candlelightingI love having two New Years celebrations each year. Rosh Hashanah and January 1st are both opportunities to start over anew, to focus on fresh, new goals and go deeper in my spiritual practices. 

Even better though, I love Shabbos each week. It's the culmination of one seven-day period of my achievements when I stop and  honor God's ultimate achievement - Creation. It's my connection to the past and the future. It's on beyond celebrating a new year. It's timeless and yet it's frequent.

Jews all over the world are honoring the seventh-day Sabbath with me, so I'm not really alone, even if lighting my Shabbat candles is a solitary activity for me in my home.  But the intimacy of candlelighting cannot be described. You just have to do it to understand it for yourself.

Will you join me?  Will you take the weekly opportunity to fill your home and your heart with the light of Shabbos?

We can get started having Shabbos fun today watching this video about braiding Challah, the traditional bread used (and enjoyed!) each Shabbos eve following Kiddush.

Watch a true Challah Artist in action! (HERE is another video showing how to make the delicious egg bread Challah dough for a crowd.)

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Challah Braiding
Different ways to braid dough for challah or any other bread.

The Shabbat Project This Weekend

What a joy to know that millions of people all over the world are choosing to honor Shabbos this weekend - October 24th and 25th, 2014. The Shabbat Project is the answer to prayer for me and for many Jews all over the world. Will you join us?

Basking in the afterglow of Shavuot 2014


Listening to the lovely, hypnotic songs of Shauli on Soundcloud this Friday evening, preparing for our Shabbat Eve....

I am filled with gratitude for the precious revelations and answers to prayers during Shavuot this week.

I am thankful to be a Jew and to have these Holy Days to remember how thankful I am to be a Jew.


Parashat Beha'alothekha opens with the following (from The Living Torah, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan):

"God spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to Aaron and say to him, 'When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall illuminate the menorah."

May we all be blessed with illumination this Shabbos and always!

SHABBAT SHALOM
TO MY PEOPLE EVERYWHERE

Shabbat - A Spa For The Soul

My FridayNightLight.org email today really filled me with enthusiasm for lighting my candles this weekend:

"Magical things happen when we rest. The mind quiets itself. The body lets go of tension.

That feeling of perpetual motion and not being able to keep up dissolve.

Shabbat, thanks to our Creator, is a weekly opportunity to rest and to recharge. When we take advantage of the profound opportunity for revitalization that Shabbat offers, we give ourselves the gift of self care.

Even if trips to a spa resort are beyond our means, Shabbat is always there as a spa for the soul and a rest for the body."


Shabbos Blessings For Our Children

"My parents created a profound tradition when we were very young: addressing one child at a time, they would recite the traditional Hebrew blessing and then each of them would gift an impromptu personal blessing from the heartsoul"

These words by Ilana Lerman in her post on Ritualwell.org began her story called Building Blessing Muscle. She recalls how her parents placed their hands on the shoulders of each child in turn and spoke individual blessings upon each of the three of them every Shabbat Eve.

Such a beautiful picture for us all this Shabbos as we light our candles with our children present in the room with us, or in our hearts. We can always bless them with our "heartsoul" as did Illana's parents.

It's the Season for Early Shabbos Lights

Selecting the candle holders to light up our Friday night goes on earlier in the day now since daylight savings time is no longer observed here in north Texas USA.

I was standing by the table, waiting in the dark when my husband suddenly came in the front door, returning from work. "Hold on," he said, "I'll be right there..."

Many families struggle to gather before sunset, and I am grateful it worked for us this first week of early Shabbos.

There are too many other struggles in families and in the world, and the whole purpose of kindling the Shabbos lights is to welcome the peace of the Sabbath Day into our homes and into our crazy, busy lives.

Honestly, when my husband and I bond over Kiddush at the Shabbat table each week, it is a precious bond, a high point, a threshold into intentional peace we choose to share.

We both value this opportunity and genuinely welcome it, as it signals the end of the pressures of our work week and the beginning of our "real life" at home together.

The lack of a "real life" at home for families scattered by school and activities and work and shopping and sports and hobbies and caring for others is truly a source of trouble in this world. We are scattered and stressed so much of the time that it seems normal to us.

Kindling the lights of Shabbat each week reminds me what is normal to my Creator, and what is available to me, too - the light and the peace of the Sabbath, the Shalom Bayit, the peace at home. How I treasure it!

It's Shabbat and It's Yom Kippur - A Double Blessing

When Yom Kippur and Shabbos coincide, it's hard to imagine the great Light accessible to us all.  I honestly don't think it can be expressed any better than this quote from my FridayLight email today:

"Have you ever seen a flame leap back to its source, like when sparks ignite from a camp fire, and then fall back into the fire itself?

We each have a spiritual spark within. It is a spark that is purely a piece of our Creator, and it lives in each of us. Though it is usually covered in layers of spiritual and physical shells, on Yom Kippur that innermost spark shines out and comes close to its source.

Yom Kippur is the one day of the year when we have the power to access that spark. It is a day when we can truly be our most real spiritual and physical selves.

This Shabbat is Yom Kippur. When we light our candles today, we are welcoming the opportunity to access that truest, most pure part of yourself. Have a meaningful Yom Kippur and Shabbat Shalom from FridayLight!"

And also from me, Mia Sherwood Landau. May your life and your spiritual growth be immeasurably blessed this year and always.

"On this day, just one time per year, we are lifted collectively and individually above our past and given the opportunity to “whiten” and purify the toxic residue of the pain, disappointments and regrets that we have picked up throughout the year and even throughout our lives." Shifra Hendrie

Joan Nathan Making Challah for Shabbos and Rosh Hashanah

Watch Joan Nathan demonstrating how to make traditional braided challah, and special round loaves for Rosh Hashana... it's like having your own Jewish mother or grandmother showing you how it's done.

Still looking for a place to make a donation, your tzedaka this New Year?  Consider Project MOT, care packages to Jewish military personnel.

Prayer for Elul, Shabbos and Always

I am touched by words in two inspiring emails today. The first quote is from Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz on the topic of Prayer:

"Every word of prayer makes an impression and isn't wasted. Sometimes much later their effect is felt, sometimes in a very different way than was intended. The principle is that there is nothing ever lost. 

However , there are many levels of  impact. Just as each person's life outlook is different, as is reflected by the fact that no two faces look alike---so too , no two prayers impact are alike."

And the other quote is on the topic of Prayer, too.  It is from my weekly FridayLight.org email, always so welcome as I prepare for Shabbos each week:

"In Jewish mysticism, there is a concept of two ways of relating to our Creator. One way is for our Creator to reach down to us with help or inspiration. Another way is for us to do our work here on the ground and to reach up to him to ask for help.

It's rare for our Creator to just make changes for us. However, according to mystical sources, when we do everything in our power to bring this redemption for ourselves in combination with asking our Creator for help, that's when the He will generally meet us in the middle. We reach up and He reaches down (metaphorically speaking.)"

Sights and Sounds of The Sabbath

Shabbat is set aside and there are many sights, sounds and tastes for us to enjoy at home, or wherever we may be. Right now I am inclined to share the English translation of one of my favorite sights and sounds.

Adon Olam is a powerful prayer, by sight (reading) and by sound (listening). It is available for us all, for all time.

This translation is from the Artscroll Children's Siddur by Shmuel Blitz, with precious illustrations by Tova Katz:

Master of the Universe,
Who was always King,
even before anything was created,

When nothing will exist anymore,
only He will rule.

Hashem always was here,
Hashem always is here,
and Hashem will always be here.

Hashem is the only One,
there is no other god.

Hashem has no beginning and no end,
Hashem is amazingly strong.

Hashem is my God, and my Redeemer,
He helps me in my time of trouble.

I am safe with Him,
He is there when I call to Him.

He watches over my soul when I go to sleep,
and when I wake up in the morning.

Hashem is always with me,
and I shall not be afraid.

and the following quote from page 10:

"The highest level of prayer
a person can reach is to
pray like a young child."



Shabbat Words To Live By

Let's consider these words I received in an email from Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz this week: 
 
"Shabbat is a mindset that is patterned after a future era when there will be nothing lacking, not in people or in anything else.  All will be experienced as being whole and perfect just as it is, and there will be no need to rectify anything or anyone else including ourselves."

Shabbat Shalom from FridayLight.org and from me!


Top 10 Reasons Why Lighting Shabbat Candles is Awesome (From my FridayLight .org email today 6/7/2013):

10. Your grandma probably did it, and so did her grandma.
9. It gives your two minutes to yourself.
8. Candles look pretty!
7. Since G-d created light first, when we light Shabbat lights we bring forth the first light that G-d created. Deep!
6. The candles brings honor and joy to Shabbat!
5. They bring peace into our home and into the world.
4. The act of lighting brings Torah into our homes.
3. As women, it helps us to bring a feeling of Shabbat
into the house.
2. G-d especially loves this mitzvah!
1. It is a mitzvah for women, and it gives us a special connection to G-d and to the Jewish People.
What are your Top Reasons?


Shabbat Shalom from FridayLight.org and from me!

Rabbi Friedman On Shabbat Parshat Behaalotecha


I absolutely LOVED this quote from Rabbi Yosef B. Friedman in an email from The Kehot Publication Society this week. It speaks to my soul in such a deep way, and reminds me of a song I wrote years ago about being a lamp stand. We are all lamp stands, really, and life is all about the light we reflect around us:

"Speak to Aaron and say to him: 'When you kindle the lamps, be sure to place the wicks in these spouts so the seven lamps shine toward the central shaft of the candelabrum.' "
(Chumash Bamidbar 8:2) 
 
When you kindle the lamps: This phrase can be read to mean "When you ascend with the lamps."

In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon compares the G-d's commandments to an oil lamp: "For a commandment is a lamp." The lamp-apparatus comprises several parts: the vessel, the oil, the wick, and the flame. Nonetheless, the essence and purpose of the lamp is not its physical apparatus but the light that shines from it."

These are the opening words and hidden meanings in our weekly Torah portion, and they are special to me.

And here are a few additional words from LChaimWeekly.org, also from an email this week:

"The commandment to kindle the menora is symbolic of every Jew's obligation to involve himself with others and exert a positive influence on everyone with whom he comes in contact. All of us are commanded to ignite the Divine spark in our fellow Jews and light up our surroundings."

Let's all do it with our Shabbos candles tonight - let's exert a positive influence in the world by igniting light in our surroundings.

10 More Days Counting the Omer

It is so inspiring to me as I begin to understand that counting the Omer is an opportunity to enhance my growth, in this season of new growth each year.

One of my teachers, Rabbi Aryeh Nivin said these words in an email lately:

"Practically speaking, all you need to do is identify yourself with the Jewish people, with the goals of Har Sinai, with the idea of mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh—a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  You need to choose a small action, a miniature practice, to do every day that represents your willingness and desire to make a positive change."

So, that is what I am doing now. I am endeavoring to make ONE positive change in order to glue myself to my people and to the goals of Mount Sinai.

What are you doing during this Omer period that will have lasting impact on your relationship to the Jewish people and to Torah?

Oh, I also spoke to a woman on the phone today who is not Jewish, and when I happened to mention that I am Jewish, because we were discussing spiritual matters, she said, "Well, whatever your grandmothers gave you, I respect that."  Gee, that's an interesting thing to say, isn't it?

I know that my "grandmothers" go back to Sinai and she probably has no idea what she really said, in that regard.

How fortunate I am this Shabbat Eve, in considering my relationship to my people and to Torah!

The FridayLight.org email this week echoed Rabbi Nivin's sentiments, as well as my phone call, in a different way:

"Did you ever get to know your great-grandmother? If you're reading this, there's a good chance she emigrated with her family from the "old world" to the "new world"...

So what has changed since your family emigrated? Did your family continue the tradition of lighting Shabbat lights? For lots of us, we are the first generation of women, since our great-grandmothers emigrated, to light Shabbat lights every Friday. And it's something to be really proud of...

First and foremost, we fulfill a commandment when we light Shabbat lights. But on a personal level, lighting Shabbat lights is a way to bring the lights of our great-grandmothers to life."

Please feel free to share in the comments for us all to enjoy.

Shabbat.com Eshet Chayil Video - Lovely!

Shabbat.com Video Shabbat Shabbos Candlelighting Shabbat Candle lightingClick photo for a short, lovely video by Shabbat.com, the world's largest social network for Jewish people offering and looking for a place to spend Shabbos.

FREE Shabbos Candles With Lots of Love

Every Friday morning I get an email reminder with the candle lighting time in my area from FridayLight.org, and it always makes me smile in the midst of my busy work day. Yes!  It's almost Shabbos!

This morning I read, "We are all psyched up about seeing a worldwide movement of Jewish women bringing all of our unique and powerful lights into the world.

When lighting our candles this Friday, let's 'lean in' to our Shabbos lighting experience. Dare to make it more meaningful; dare to make it better!  Shabbat Shalom from FridayLight!"

FridayLight.org offers FREE candles and plenty of encouragement when you're just getting started with Shabbat candle lighting. Lighting instructions are available in English, Hebrew, French, Russian and Spanish. Get some and tell your friends all over the globe!
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