These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Shabbat laws

Posted on October 23, 2011 by Andrea Wiese

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Today in Halakha (Jewish law) class, we started learning the laws of keeping Shabbat. There are “honor” כבוד laws, about preparing oneself for Shabbat and there are “pleasure” עונג laws about preparing your surroundings. I never knew there were actual laws written that you should have a nice meal, and wash yourself, clean the house, and wear nice clothes. I just thought it was traditions, but the rabbis actually wrote that we are suppose to do that. All in preparation for Shabbat. I think last year I would have thought these things were silly, but now that I am semi-keeping Shabbat, I think these things are really important. After I clean the whole house, to shopping, prepare a beautiful meal, set the table with the “nice” dishes, get really pretty, and wear a cute dress…I really want the time to be special. I really do feel like it’s a spiritual time that I’m not worrying, that I’m not thinking about homework, I’m not worried about politics. It’s a time for friends and family, a time to pray, and a time to be grateful.

Also, I liked that the rabbis really do acknowledge that it takes effort to prepare for Shabbat, it really is a task to get ready for something so special, but because we invest that time and make it nice and even “holy”…the time of Shabbat is that much more meaningful. So come Thursday and Friday when I’m cleaning and getting ready, I will be that much more appreciative when Shabbat actually arrives.