Known for the weekly holiday of rest and reflection. For many who honor and recognize this weekly holiday, it’s a time to spend with family, friends, loved ones, and maybe most importantly themselves. Shabbat starts sundown on Friday night, when three stars can be seen in the sky and ends on Saturday night an hour after sundown. This is also called Havdalah.
Some celebrate the holiday by observing prayer at synagogue or shul by reviewing the weekly portion (parsha) of the torah.
For many Jews who fully appreciate the Sabbath (Shabbat) there is no electricity allowed after sunset. One might ask “Why?” This is done to really fully appreciate the day of rest. To not turn on a television, radio, computer, (hard to believe), but too really take in your surroundings. The weather, your body, life to say the least, without any media influence.
To add a personal story I have observed Shabbat dinner on Friday night with many friends, and it was always lovely with the most amazing foods. Yet I did not really experience the full effect of Shabbat until I spent a summer in Israel a few years ago. It was honestly the most amazing part of my stay. In some cities, places would virtually shut down at 2 pm Friday afternoon and not reopen till Saturday night. I got the chance to really explore the land, with no noise. I had the opportunity to really connect with my fellow group members in our exploration through this fascinating country.
Without having the celebration of Shabbat through my stay in Israel, it would have not been the same experience.
If you ever have a chance to be a guest of someone’s for Shabbat dinner, which many of you will hopefully be, you will be amazed of the feeling of togetherness Shabbat brings. There are some guidelines you may want to follow or ask questions. For example, if a light is left on in a room they are not using at the time, it’s most likely meant to be left on. My advice is to ask before shutting off anything, I’ve made that make several times (sorry about the bathroom light Ema!).
If by accident you forget and turn something off, don’t fret, just turn it back on and let your host know. They will most likely not think twice, but will appreciate your gesture of concern and respect for their holiday as well as their household.