These and Those

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

The ‘Shabbat dimension’

Posted on October 29, 2012 by David Bogomolny

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I remember a late, late Shabbat night conversation several years ago on a street corner in Dupont Circle with a friend of mine. We were standing outside of a bar, as people walked by us, in and out, in and out, not heeding us in the slightest, just as we didn’t pay them any heed. We were living in the ‘Shabbat dimension’ – parallel to the bustling dimension of D.C. yuppie life.

Several weeks later I sat next to somebody on a collapsed couch at a party – our eyes level with the other partygoers’ knee caps. The party continued above us, as if we weren’t present, and we philosophized about the Muppet Babies cartoon, in which the character of ‘Nanny’ was shown only from the Babies’ perspectives – up to her waist. In a sense, children also live in a dimension parallel to the adults who operate around them, much like my Shabbat experience, apart from the denizens of Dupont Circle.

Nowadays, in Jerusalem, my experience of Shabbat has shifted, as much of my city shifts weekly into the ‘Shabbat dimension’; and I perceive the bustlers as operating beyond. I feel that when our non-observant friends join us for Shabbat meals, they shift into Jerusalem’s ‘Shabbat dimension’. And when they get into their cars to return home, I know that I will not be shifting back out of Shabbat with them – the bustle of humanity will wait for havdallah.