BY GEORGE ROBINSON for myjewishlearning.com
What happens during the Friday night prayer service.
In the first verses of Bereshit Genesis, God creates light and “there was evening and morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:5) The rabbis reasoned that if the Torah, the product of divine revelation, said that the first day began with evening, that must have been God’s intention, for “days” to begin at sunset. So when the sky is streaked with the fading Friday sunlight, in Jewish homes around the world, candles are lit, blessings are said and Shabbat is welcomed. And in synagogues, the Friday Ma’ariv service begins with a series of hymns, Psalms, and blessings collectively known as Kabbalat Shabbat/ Welcoming the Sabbath.
BY RABBI DANIEL KOHN for myjewishlearning.com
A guide to Shabbat services and what makes them unique.
As a day of unique sanctity, Shabbat ’s liturgy is different from the standard weekday liturgy in its structure and in many of its themes. A number of the themes interwoven throughout the liturgy of Shabbat emphasize certain larger spiritual values of Judaism; in order to explore them, we must turn our attention first to a structural characteristic of Shabbat liturgy.
Shabbat and Meditation: Just Be It
BY JAY MICHAELSON for myjewishlearning.com
How mindfulness can deepen your Shabbat experience — and vice versa
Shabbat is a day of being, not doing. As interpreted by the rabbis, the day’s multitude of do’s and don’ts are essentially about not making anything, not destroying anything, and simply taking the world as we find it–for one day. The rest of the week, we Jews are exhorted to improve the world, better ourselves, and provide for our extended families in whatever roles in which we find ourselves. But this day: just be. Serve God not in changing the world, but in relaxing into what’s already there.
The Easiest Crock Pot Roast for Shabbat
BY JENNIFER STEMPEL for The Nosher for myjewishlearning.com
As someone who runs her life a million miles per minute, but still values the fruits of a home-cooked meal, the slow cooker is certainly a mainstay in my kitchen. Because of this favorite small appliance, my family gets to enjoy rich, hearty meals that taste like they’ve been simmering all day, even on those days when I’ve got just a few minutes to get dinner on the table.
I especially love making this savory slow cooker pot roast for a festive Shabbat meal. Any good starchy side like rice, potatoes, or noodles will sop up the juices in a fabulous way. Plus, if you’re lucky you’ll have leftovers, which I have been known to turn into pot roast tacos the next day.
Shutting it all Down to Reboot My System
By Mayim Bialik on her website, GrokNation
How Mayim’s time away from her devices prompted her to rethink her relationships with her phone and certain websites
One of the great gifts I have received from taking on Jewish observance is the gift of shutting off things in my life that distract me from what I want to experience on a particular religious holiday.
For example, Shabbat comes every Friday night through Saturday night, and it is a time to spend with family and friends. Not checking email or social media is a way to force myself to not be distracted by the things that tend to distract me on a daily basis. The Sabbath is a real gift in my life and I’m not the only one; many non-observant Jews and people who aren’t Jewish at all have even begun to sing the praises of a “powered down” day of the week, especially in this day and age of constant information in the palm of your hand in the form of a smartphone.