The irony of missing Shabbat

I miss Shabbat.

The irony is that I never really had Shabbat to begin with.

I began coming into my understanding of Shabbat in February this year when I spent extended time with my boyfriend, K, and his family.

The only time I have truly experienced Shabbat was in February of this year when I was able to spend time with my boyfriend’s sister Y, her daughter, and K. Through Y, who is Orthodox and lives in Israel, I learned to appreciate the beauty that is the quiet, meditative, prayerful family/community observance of Shabbat

During our visit, I felt so rejuvenated after my time with them. I loved going to Shabbat services with K on Friday evening and then saying prayers before mealtime with Y on Shabbos. I loved having to be mindful about my use of electricity and, even though K and I traveled to his sister in the car and so did not keep Shomer Shabbos, we thought and talked about our use of time and technology on that day.

I appreciated that Shabbat brought me closer to G-d and family and rest on that visit.

I truly grasped this appreciation in April, when my partner and I spent much of Shabbat cleaning for Shivah after the loss of his mother. What he and I needed right then was not to clean and instead to share in that day of thankfulness to G-d with his sister in quiet space.

When I returned to Boston that very next weekend in April I began working on Shabbat from noon-7pm at the local bakery. For a while I tried to keep my mornings “Shabbat-like”. I went to yoga. I meditated. I wrote. But the inevitability of working discolored Saturday mornings. I felt disjointed and worried about time. And so I resorted to balancing checkbooks, paying bills, running errands and cleaning on Shabbat mornings.

Yes, I have had prayerful and meditative moments on Fridays while preparing for Shabbat. I have welcomed in Shabbat by sharing prayers, candlelighting, blessings and challah with my partner on Friday evenings. I have felt G-d and some peace.

Still, I long for Shabbat. At first, I thought I simply longed for Saturdays: to go to the beach or downtown, to read by the pond or in bed. To not work. And it is true, those things I do long for. I have missed that “down time” this summer. And yes, those things can be part of Shabbat. And yet, I want more. I want the peace, the joy, and the thankfulness in G-d and for G-d. I want the stillness, the thoughtfulness, the community, and the prayer. I want Shabbat. Having known it fully once, I miss Shabbat.

As I take the time to wrote this post-sundown and post-Shabbat, I send to G-d my thankfulness for being alive, my appreciation for all G-d’s blessings, and my hope that I will fully experience and celebrate Shabbat in my life again soon.


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