Shabbat post. Wrote one I decided to keep private, but I’ll be back later today with a new post.
Imbolc and the 77 Moon
Shabbat gratefuls: Snow. Cold. Winter Storms. Bringing Water we need. My own tiny Aquifer. A steel blue overcast Sky. Black Mountain gone. (I suspect it’s still there, though) Lodgepole Branches gathering Snow. The Supreme Court. Alan. Relationships. My life’s focus these days. Including with myself. Bereshit. Mishpatim. Parshas I’m studying now. That Shabbat feeling. Candles.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Eye
One brief shining: The Lodgepole out my window has Branches focused toward the east, toward Great Sol’s return appearance after a Mountain night; on Their west side, where Their colleagues grow, the Branches never emerged, the same true for Others who face out toward the open air with an eager reach, why waste energy where it’s all shade anyhow?
Shabbat once again. Interesting for me since the shabbat rules focus so much on not working, on relaxing from the daily grind, on staying home. Gee, sounds every day of the week for me. That does create an odd problem. How can I keep the spirit of shabbat if its traditional focus no longer seems appropriate. What does it mean to me to rest from my “regular” obligations? Or anyone retired, for that matter.
So far I’ve focused on a few aspects of shabbat, like lighting the candles at the time indicated by Chabad. That does have an interesting grounding effect. The time, 18 minutes before sundown, gradually moves, during this season, later and later in the day. Yesterday it was 5:11 pm for the Denver area. Saying the prayer, reconstructing its meaning, and lighting the candles makes for a defined starting point for shabbat. Ritual.
Reading the parsha for the week is another aspect. This week it’s mishpatim or Exodus 21:1–24:18 which contains many rules and regulations plus Moses’ ascent into the cloud on Mt. Sinai. My favorite commentator, Aviva Zornberg has a commentary, The Particulars of Rapture, which analyzes and interprets each parsha. In weeks past I’ve read her commentary after reading the parsha.
This week though I’m also reading the very first parsha, bereshit, or beginning. Genesis 1 through the story of Cain and Abel and the lives of those who preceded Noah. Also reading Zornberg’s commentary, The Beginning of Desire.
A nap has been part of most of my shabbat’s so far. For those of you who know me well, I’ve stopped taking naps for the most part. I also watch some TV. Eat breakfast and lunch. Workout.
This week, yesterday, I also attended a torah study on reproductive rights online. Rabbi Jamie. The Jewish position is clear, a fetus does not become a person until the first breath or, according to some rabbi’s, when the head crowns. In most cases of pregnancy it is an obligation to save the mother’s life first if an emergency occurs.
Shabbat has a different texture from the other days of my week. The priority on not doing worklike activity does color it for me. So does the candle lighting ritual and the emphasis on torah study. It is harder for a single person, retired and living alone, to fit into even a modest version of the traditional shabbat with its focus on family and nearby friends. Not my goal, though I appreciate the feel of that one.