Shabbat was lovely, restful and wonderful. The weekly Torah Portion (Chayei Sarah) talked about Rivkah (Rebecca) who gave Eliezer and all his camels to drink, so we had our table decorated with a small variety of wells and such. My favorite is this beautiful figurine my mom gave me a long time ago, several years before I had my own little girl named after the matriarch.
Our little Rivkah/Rebecca/Becca is normally quite strong on wanting to be called Becca, but at such occasions as when she is mentioned in the TorahPortion, she prefers to be called by the Hebrew name, Rivkah… She likes to see the connection, that she is one of the matriarchs… 🙂
We kept waiting for the rain that seems to have come all over Israel, except for our area of Jerusalem this Shabbat. But anyway, we stayed happy and warm and cozy with our books and games, cookies and hot apple cider, and just listened to the strong winds outside.
Shabbat both starts and ends with a ceremony, and the one at the end is called “havdalah” meaning it is separating between the holy and the regular. It is a nice little ritual where we start the week together and wish each other a good week. But somehow, as time came this Shabbat, and my husband called us all to come to “havdalah”, I asked if we could just wait a few more minutes. I just wanted a tiny bit more Shabbat. This day of the week, this time that is set aside, this holy time, it is such a blessing for the soul, for the family, for our people, for all Creation, really.
(Thanks to wikipedia for this photo of a havdalah-set quite similar to ours.)
But again, there is a time for everything. And after a couple more minutes of Shabbat, we all gathered around for “havdalah”. We lit the candle with the many wicks symbolizing the days of the week, we smelled the sweet spices symbolizing that we wish each other sweetness in the coming week, and we blessed the wine that in the end turns out the large flame of the candle. And we went over from the holy to the regular, from our lovely little bubble, to the busyness of the world of computers, phones, appointments, news etc.
Pretty soon we heard about the attack near Gaza and our seriously injured soldiers. And we keep hearing about the rockets that are still coming down like hail over Ashkelon, Sderot and the whole area that is reached from Gaza. Children are kept home from school, and everyone is told to stay close to the safety of their bomb shelters. Now I just got off the phone with someone from Sderot, and I tried to encourage her to stay strong and know that they are not alone, and that we keep praying for them.
Here in Jerusalem, we normally don’t really feel the threats of war affecting our every day lives all that much, but today our family was touched by it more than usual. We sent our abba off to a week of army duty. It is just an exercise, but still, seeing him there at the breakfast table in his green uniform, knowing that he is going off for a week of pretty rough training, in order to be even better able to defend our country, – it just brings it closer to home.
And here I am, including my husband in my prayers for protection over our soldiers, keeping on praying for our friends and fellow citizens who are under pretty constant rocket attacks (Oh, God, protect the hearts of those children!!), and also praying especially for our home and those in it to stay safe and healthy this week when our abba is missing from it.
I try to keep the wonderful memories of Shabbat still fresh in my mind, and not all overshadowed by the picture of my soldier walking out the gate this morning.