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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

The Gift

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Dear Friends, Next Shabbat, for Parshat Ki Tisa, we are privileged to read about the gift of Shabbat.

What a treat it was to be able to write about The Sabbath. Ahad Ha' Am, a Zionist thinker once said, “More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” I believe this to be true. Shabbat is a gift of unlimited value and it is available to everyone.

During the time that I worked in Jewish education, one of my goals was to help people to understand that Shabbat is for anyone who seeks a way to break free of weekly schedules. You don't have to be religious to do Shabbat, you just have to have the desire to have a break from the hustle and bustle from the endless cycle of work.

This is a poem unfinished. Your feelings and recollections would be welcome. We all have different ways to connect to Shabbat...Please email me with your associations with Shabbat. I want to hear! I'll be editing and re-editing this before I read it on Wednesday morning. You are free to send me any ideas.

Thanks, Leann


Shabbat is a gift to treasure

It is the rhythm of the week all leading to 7

It is an island in time, a universe unto itself.

Shabbat is a stack of thumbed through cookbooks

Trusted recipes of friends and family

It is that midweek trip to the market for ingredients

It is the smoothness of dough between your fingers as you prepare challah

Shabbat is rushing on Friday afternoons to finish cooking

It is a mix of aromas greeting those who walk through the door

In the winter it is windows fogged up from steaming soup

In the summer it is the flowers you pick from your yard to put on the table

Shabbat is welcoming the queen and the angels

Shabbat is the peace that rests on you like a cloud when you light the candles

Shabbat is the prayer you make when your eyes are closed

Your time to talk to God one on one

Shabbat is for guests.

It is cleaning the house because guests are coming

It is the shine of the kitchen counters

Shabbat is family, friends and community

Shabbat is blessing your children

and hearing their voices at the table

It is that giggled space between washing and hamotzee

Shabbat is the sound of Eishet Chayil

It is holding that wine stained siddur you've been using for years

It is dipping the challah in salt and that first delicious taste

Shabbat is staying in bed a little later

It is a leisurely gaze out the window in the morning

It is that collection of books on your dresser you have saved to read

Shabbat is having a chance to dress up

It is going to synagogue, to the place where you feel at home

Shabbat is sitting next to a friend at shul and whispering

It is being with community

It is celebrating with that community when things are good

and standing with them when things aren't

Shabbat are the moving stripes of the tallitot

and the colors of the kippot

Shabbat is the parsha, always changing

It is the hush in the room during the Amidah

It is wondering what the d'var torah will be

It is the sound of the silver bells on the Torah

It is the drama of opening and closing the Aron

It is standing with your heels together for the kedushah

and the beauty of Anim Z'mirot

Shabbat is getting to know people around your dining room table

It is the time for laughter and conversation

Shabbat is singing together and Birkat

It is a joyful l'chayim and then maybe another.

It is the spills that stain the tablecloth forevermore

It is the best desserts

Shabbat is a long leisurely walk

Shabbat is learning with friends

It is a quiet nap

Shabbat is peering up at the sky searching for the three stars

It is the smell of spices in your nose

and the hope for a good week

Shabbat is Shamor and Zachor

Shabbat is the supreme Hamavdil

It is the gift of time

Guard it carefully, for it is a treasure unlike any other

remember it and Shabbat will forever sustain you

וְשָׁמְר֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶת־הַשַּׁבָּ֑ת לַעֲשׂ֧וֹת אֶת־הַשַּׁבָּ֛ת לְדֹרֹתָ֖ם בְּרִ֥ית עוֹלָֽם׃ The Israelite people shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout the ages as a covenant for all time:

בֵּינִ֗י וּבֵין֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל א֥וֹת הִ֖וא לְעֹלָ֑ם כִּי־שֵׁ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֗ים עָשָׂ֤ה יְהוָה֙ אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבַיּוֹם֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י שָׁבַ֖ת וַיִּנָּפַֽשׁ׃ (ס) it shall be a sign for all time between Me and the people of Israel. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and was refreshed.

Exodus 31:16-18

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