Friday, October 3, 2008

Erev Shabbos

Erev Shabbos in Eretz Yisroel deserves several postings- but here's the first.

It requires much more preparation in Yerushalayim than in America or other places Chutz L'Aaretz (out of Israel).

For example, almost no one works on Fridays, and the groceries all close at 1 o'clock sharp.
Therefore, oftentimes I have to do my shopping way in advance in order to be able to cook for Shabbos, or I have to sit in the supermarket for hours on Friday itself, since there are always last minute things to buy, and it seems like my entire neighborhood forgot to buy something!
If I forget something after 1 o'clock- the motto is do without, or ask one of my wonderful neighbors for help- which they are always willing to give- wonderful people, always willing to lend a hand, or oven space :)

It also feels like this Shabbos particularly is just one Shabbos after a Yom Tov- Rosh HaShana, and then Tzom Gedaliah- I feel like I've been cooking forever!

Although, I should confess- my husband and I got invited out for 3/4 meals on Rosh HaShana, but I'm cooking in advance for Succos as well- so it can get quite hectic.

Not to mention, things always tend to come up in my household- like cleaning (I admit- I dislike my household chores) , laundry, miscellaneous items, phone calls from Israel/America/friends/telemarketers/private numbers that don't show up on the caller ID.....

So, my Erev Shabbos is usually quite hectic.

But in Yerushalayim- there are wonderful things going on:

The neighborhood children all clean up the Chatzer (courtyard) in honor of Shabbos, so everything looks sparkling clean

The shul (synagogue) nearby plays the most beautiful Shabbos music to greet the Shabbos queen- wafting through my open window are such lovely songs

Everyone is cooking, cleaning, bustling around, and generally preparing for Shabbos- the entire atmosphere is so wonderful and spiritual as well, despite all the physical preparations for Shabbos.

And then, the siren blows- welcoming in a new Shabbos, a new chance to connect with my Creator, and time to spend in this holy city of Yerushalayim.

When I light my licht (candles for Shabbos) here, I'm really lighting 40 minutes before Shegiya- actual sunset- since in Yerushalayim, it changes from day to night in a split second. You can actually watch it happen- such a beautiful moment. So, lighting my candles in the daylight is wonderful as well- giving me more time to see the sun fall, see the sky decorated with such beautiful colors....Ma Rabu Maasecha Hashem- how wonderful are Your creations, Hashem!

Gut Shabbos to all!

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