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Shabbos Chic Blog

Shalom Bayit

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

It's still winter, but I feel a ripening

The seasons of our lives don't match up perfectly with the seasons of the year, or the cyclical holidays in the Jewish calendar.  

We each have our own time line, and we don't really know what it is until we're living through it, or more likely, once we pass through it and see it with hindsight.

Oh, if we could only have our hindsight 'way in advance!

These words from my Interinclusion email this week express some of my reality now, in this phase of my growth:

"According to the Meam Loez which is a widely studied commentary from the 1700’s on the Hebraic Bible, the three foundations of a home are a field, a vineyard and a house. This verse refers to all three. 

"Clearly the verse mentions the field and the vineyard, but as was previously discussed, the Jewish woman represents the house. It is not that she belongs in the house but rather that she is the house. 

"Wherever she may be, that is home. This is even seen in the word for house itself, bayit, in that it is comprised of the letters bat (daughter) with a yud in the middle, referring to the daughter of G-d, meaning woman."

Home has always been important to me, even when I was the only one living in it, for many years. Having a strong sense of home, of making a home, I probably wouldn't have said, "I am the home," but now I've come to understand it's the truth. I AM the home.





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.

Tiny House for Shabbat?

This is my idea of a perfect little Shabbat cabin... where I would relax and read and scoop food from the Crockpot in complete peace.  Can you see it, too?

In real life this cabin is located at the Clearwater Gallery in Sisters, Oregon and it is available for rent to artists.

This precious little cabin made me realize that Shabbat is always and forever an artistic expression for me. It's the ultimate opportunity to sit back and watch my Creator's handiwork in my life. Every week. And what a perfect little place for Elul reflection, too.

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."


The Candle of the Lord

My weekly email from Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum provided these perfect words for us all on Shabbos this week -

"The candle, which symbolizes the words of Torah, is considered a guide to life, safeguarding us from stumbling.

Whoever performs a mitzvah sustains his soul, and is considered as if he lit a candle before G-d as it states:

 Ner Hashem nishmat adam
A candle of G-d is the soul of man.

The benefit of the candle is that it purifies the soul.

Candles differ from other goods in this world, which becomes reduced when shared with others. From one candle you can kindle thousands of candles without diminishing the light of the original candle.

In the same way, when we fulfill a mitzvah even if it seemingly comprises expense and effort, we do not get depleted but rather recharged with renewed spiritual energy."

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!

Rabbi Shais Taub on Shabbos, Men, Women and Idolatry

I just listened, and now
I guarantee that your understanding of human relationships and of our  enduring relationship with Shabbos can change forever  right now, too. 

Just click and listen to Rabbi Shais Taub as he tells us how it can work out, if we choose.

Yes, it's a choice. We can see ourselves as men and women, and we can see the Shabbos in a new way, and a way that actually works.

Enjoy this beautiful 3-minute audio of  Shir HaMa'alot Shabbat Shalom

Ruach (Spirit) vs Koach (Might) In Israel And In Us


Following is a quote from a special PDF provided by www.ARZA.org offering unique blessings for lighting each candle of your menorah in order to honor  Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. This year - 2013 - it begins on Monday, April 15 and comes to a conclusion at sunset on Tuesday, April 16.

"In the book of Zechariah there is a description of the seven branched Menorah (candelabrum)with two olive branches on its sides. This description symbolizes the belief in Ruach (Spirit) over Koach (Might). “The angel who talked with me came back and woke me as one is wakened from sleep. He said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a menorah all of gold, with a bowl above it.

The lamps on it are seven in number, and the lamps above it have seven pipes, and by it are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and one on its left. I, in turn, asked the angel who walked by me, “What do these things mean, sir?” “Do you not know what those things mean?” asked the angel who talked with me, and I said, “No, sir.” Then he explained to me as follows: : This is the word of The Eternal to Zerubavel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said The Lord of Hosts.”(Zechariah, 4:1-6)

The national symbol of Israel is, of course, the menorah. The ARZA suggested blessings bring our present world circumstances into sharp focus as we celebrate, and the words of the blessings come directly from, "Israel’s Declaration of Independence issued in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 (5th of Iyar, 5708) – when David Ben Gurion and
his cabinet declared the establishment of the
State of Israel."



Jewish Women Inspiring My Life

Isn't it wonderful that we can read the words and hear the voices of women teaching Torah and sharing their knowledge and experience with us now? Today I want to share some connections with Jewish women inspiring my life.  Some are virtual friends (Skype, email and phone), and some are friends of my soul because their written words touch me deeply and change me forever.

Women of the Wall have been gathering on Rosh Chodesh since 1988, standing at the Western Wall and singing and praying together. These women come from all levels of observance and cultures over the years, and they have collaborated on a Rosh Chodesh Siddur that is available for sale on their website so we can all join in prayer.

My coach and friend, Lynn Chapman [The Stress-Less Coach], shared in an email this week: "We’re bombarded by a constant flow of other people’s expectations: bosses that expect more from us than we can deliver, clients who don't return our calls and yet want us to drop everything when they do, loved ones who are disappointed by our lack of attention, and a constant barrage of email and social media tweets and twerps that we need to return."

That is a PERFECT description of modern life, and the PERFECT prescription to survive it is Shabbos, isn't it? Lynn's coaching catapaulted me into my writing and sharing career as we worked together on the phone.

I studied with Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum last spring, and she is offering another course on Emuna Healing this year. She has an amazing ability to bring the knowledge of Torah and Kabbalah into our lives for physical and emotional healing.  Rebbetzin Siegelbaum 's book, Women At The Crossroads: A Woman's Perspective On The Weekly Torah Portion is my constant companion each Shabbat, and I encourage you to read it weekly, too.

Our weekly shuirs with author  Dr Yedidah Cohen in Safed Israel are  very precious opportunities to study the works of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag in English. Yedidah has translated two books, and is working on a third one now.

We are studying A Tapestry For the Soul now, and I am amazed at the incredible value it adds to my life each week. Having the privilege to hear her translate from Hebrew directly into English when she brings additional materials into our classes is a priceless opportunity for spiritual growth. I wouldn't want to miss it!

Finally, this article by Cantor Wendy Haley Koblinsky links to several YouTube videos of Avinu Malkeinu. I enjoyed hearing different men and women singing the powerful prayer, Our Father Our King in different styles, with and without accompaniment, including folk and rock versions.

Wendy writes, "The text of Avinu Malkeinu can certainly be a dose of reality, one might even say a punch in the gut. It cuts through our empty promises, mistakes of the past, and uncertainty in our ability to do better. It returns us to square one: We are not perfect, we have not made the right choices, we firmly will ourselves to do better, and in the interim, ask for patience."

All I can say to that is AMEN.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis on Gratitude

I treasure my weekly emails from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, the holocaust survivor who founded Hineni.org and continues to travel and work tirelessly to inspire Jews all over the world.

Today she included the following words that speak directly to my soul:

"People run here and there, dabbling in every available therapeutic program, but they fail to understand that happiness is waiting for them right in their own minds and hearts. They need only acquire the attribute of gratitude and learn to thank G-d for the many blessings of life."

Choosing gratitude is mandated for Jews, but it's still hard to remember. Creating happiness by choosing gratitude is not costly or hard to do. It is just hard to REMEMBER to do.

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!

Women Lead In Our History And On Shabbat

Women defied Pharoh's decree of death, resulting in Moses' opportunity to live and serve as leader of the Hebrew people. Women also led the joyous celebration after the miracle of crossing the Red Sea.  Many times women are called and naturally step up with courage to change the course of human history.

But this is not only an historical reality.  It happens every week in each home where a woman (or a man if a woman is not present) chooses Sabbath candle lighting as a conscious act honoring life, creation, peace and rest.

Dr Jacob Wright and Dr Tamara Cohn posted an article on Fox News this week called, The Passover Story Begins With Women. They write, "Miriam’s world is one in which social, political, and economic structures are all designed to oppress the body and crush the spirit. It is a dehumanizing world. But the abuse fails to vanquish her faith in humanity." 
The authors are writing about Miriam, the sister of Moses, who accompanied the little basket carrying himalong the river when she was young. She stayed with her brother until he was found by the daughter of Pharoh, and lifted out of the water to begin his new life in Pharoh's palace.  Miriam's courage contributed greatly to the history of the Hebrew people when she was just a child.

But the quote also applies to Miriam as an adult, at the time she led the women in joyous celebration and song after the sea parted, allowing the Hebrew people safe passage into their new life of freedom. She raised her timbrel, a tambourine with bells on it, and led the women in song and dance. Once again, Miriam set an example for us all to follow.

I say that every one of us who lights Shabbos candles to welcome the Sabbath on Friday night is also showing great faith in humanity, and in our Almighty God who made us.

Sounds of Shabbos All Week Long!

Personal Prayer on Shabbos and Every Day

shabboschicmomdaughter
Women, and men if there are no women present when it's time to light candles, have the precious privilege of kindling the flames prior to The Sabbath. Watch and listen to a mom and daughter lighting candles together for a couple minutes and you'll be truly inspired this week.
***************
Special prayers for each child and family member are always welcome on Shabbos, but what about our personal prayers everyday? I commented on Jonathan Slater's article, How Do Jews Pray? and invite you to do the same.

Shabbos Chic personal prayer lute angel

King David is our example, and so we have all the permission we need to sing and cry out from our hearts and our very souls. I know I do! Are you hesitant to make personal prayers in your own life?

Comments welcome below.


ShabbosChicRabbiYitzchak
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by Rabbi H. Rafael Goldstein, CJC

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Taste of Shabbos Yitro - Cholent Forever!

Enjoy listening to the acoustic folk song Shabbos Kodesh from  Shemesh Music in Beit Shemesh Israel while you're reading...

There's no doubt that the traditional Shabbos stew called Cholent is a favorite all over the world. Devorah Klein Lev-Tov shares her stories, saying, "Cholent is one of a small number of dishes that are intrinsically Jewish. Because Jews have been scattered all over the world for generations, however, there is no single recipe: The flavors have been refined according to each region’s tastes, resulting in a large variety of cholents."

ShabbosChiccholent
Get your own Cholent started this week with a half dozen recipes, and send me your own recipes and photos to share!

Rabbi Marshall I. Klaven of ISJL.org wrote a dvar Torah that brings Parsha Yitro right into our daily lives. He says, "Though written hundreds of years ago, the dynamics involved in this midrash could easily apply to today's world, particularly with how people deal with the sometimes conflicting obligations of work and family." 

And Rabbi Yosef B. Friedman of Kehot.com shared the following in his email this week, "Important as the mother's influence on her children is in their formative years, her role does not end there. Throughout their lives, the entire family's spiritual and even physical well-being remain dependent upon the mother's  ongoing  ability to inculcate them with love for G-d and His Torah. Even the husband's spirituality is greatly dependent upon his wife's. Every woman sets the tone in her home and is thus actively responsible for the physical and spiritual health of her entire family."

What an awesome privilege and responsibility to create Shalom Bayit, a peaceful home in the light of Shabbos!

ShevatInfographic from  Rabbi Avraham ben Yaakov Greenbaum

"Just like it is the woman who gives birth physically, so does she bring forth spirituality and Torah into the world."
Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum
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