Friday, 16 October 2009

Good Shabbos - Shabbat Shalom

When one lives outside of Israel, we often hear statements / questions like -
"When is it Friday?"
" Is it Friday yet?"
"How long till the weekend?"
"TGIF - or Thank G-d it's Friday!"

Of course, these questions and statements are all related to longing for the 2 day weekend to enjoy doing what you want to do. Whether it is a braai / barbeque; or a hike or a camping trip or a visit to the movies or...... the list is endless but the meaning is the same. I don't want to be here working, I want to do what I want to do. I want time to enjoy my friends, family, nature, other interests.

Of course, in recent times, there are actually jobs that take place in weekend hours, crafters who sell at craft markets, those who work in shops or stores, some take work home for the weekend to either catch up or prepare. But the concept is there are 2 days for ... "me!"

In amongst these comments and questions, there are times you might hear "Shabbat Shalom!" but often that might be a sign of your level of observance of Shabbat. Certainly there will be a select few people who you feel comfortable enough to wish "Good Shabbos or Shabbat Shalom" and one often expects to only hear it when attending Shul or Synagogue.

In Israel, the week is very different and there is something very special about this. In Israel, preparation for the end of the week begins already on Tuesday or Wednesday and the preparation is all towards 1 day - Shabbat.

On a Thursday afternoon and into the evening, shops or stores become busy with Shabbos Shoppers and there is a definite change in certain items one can find. There are even certain stores specifically open on Fridays only for all your Shabbat needs from Challah to cakes, chocolates and other tasty treats for this special day.

On Friday's, those who frequent the Shook or market, will find a hub and buzz as shoppers hurriedly purchase the last minute items for their Shabbat guests and family.

One fact that is particularly special is the greeting. No longer is it have a good weekend but Good Shabbos! or Shabbat Shalom! This can come from a taxi driver, bus driver, bank clerk, someone in the post office, a Jew dressed in a manner that let's you know s/he is observant of Torah and mitzvos or a Jew who is dressed in a casual fashion with or without a head covering. It can come even from those you would never dream even know the concept of Shabbat.

It is a very special feeling to be free to greet one another as every Jew should, with Good Shabbos or Shabbat Shalom! It is very special to have one's naming of the days of the week, all related to this one day, and an important reminder that this day is not for "me" but for "G-d and me" together. It is an opportunity to remember what it is to be a Jew. To put aside time to remember our Creator and to spend time either with one's immediate family, with guests, with both of these and / or with reading books that give us inspiration and joy.

We have many more ideas for further articles, stories, experiences to share, but for now, it is time to prepare for Shabbat. So we wish you all a wonderful Friday and a very special and restful Shabbat

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