Sunday, May 25, 2008

The weekend's behind us, a new week begins...

Dear ones, I hope you all had/are having the most wonderful weekend. Ours was just as it should be - peaceful and quiet - and included plenty of rest and spending (much needed) time together with my husband. I didn't feel my best on Friday, and I must tell you that no Shabbat preparations would be completed on time if it weren't for my dear wonderful husband, who helped me clean and cook even though he was tired after a long hard week at work. I truly am one blessed woman.

I'm finally able to share some pictures from another lovely walk around where we live. What can be sweeter than going out to catch the last rays of the setting sun, and smell cool fragrant air? To me, nothing is lovelier than looking around and seeing space - just open space. Sunsets are so gorgeous in the mountains that surround us. The one you see at the bottom picture was taken by my husband on our way home - it was so beautiful he simply had to hop out of the car and take a few shots...

To everyone who asked questions about Shabbat and Judaism - I was unable to reply to most questions before Shabbat, but will try to do that now - in a rather eclectic way:

- In Orthodox synagogues, men and women sit/pray separately (usually the men in front and the women at the back, and often the women's section is elevated). This is done for purposes of modesty and to prevent men being distracted at the time of prayer.

- I don't brush my hair on Shabbat because if I do that, I might accidentally tear hairs out - which is forbidden. Thankfully my hair tends to be smooth and doesn't look that awful if I don't brush it when I get up. At least that's what my husband says, and he's the only one who sees my hair without covering these days anyway...

- We now live in a community of the kindest, most wonderful people you can possibly imagine. People invite us for Shabbat meals, and we in turn host people in our modest little home and offer what we have. Our synagogue is about five minutes walking from us.

- About the specifications of separating meat from dairy and of what kind of work is forbidden on Shabbat: these are originated in the oral Torah, which Orthodox Jews observe along with written Torah. We believe both were received at Mt. Sinai, but the oral Torah wasn't recorded in written form until much later. Non-Jews are usually familiar only with the written Torah ("Old Testament"), and therefore many Jewish laws seem unexplainable.

- We have an automatic turn off for lights in our living room. We keep the light in the bathroom on throughout Shabbat.

- A single woman lights one candle for Shabbat, and a married woman typically lights two - one for herself and one for her husband (though some light a candle for each of the children as well). As a single I used to light one candle, and my mother and grandmother each light their own candle. Candles represent letting in the light of Shabbat.

Someone also asked me about the delicate issue of Jewish family life and how it works around the woman's monthly cycle. This certainly merits a separate post, perhaps a series of posts, but I'm still at doubt whether to discuss such a sensitive matter via blogging. However, if the lady who asked the question is reading this - you can contact me by email and I will try to reply as soon as time allows.

Thank you for all your sweet comments and emails - I hope to "talk" to you again soon, dear friends, and visit some of your lovely blogs (which I greatly missed). It might take me some time to reply to all the emails - but I'm certain I'll get there eventually. A wonderful day to you!


Cindi said...

Your pictures are wonderful. The sunset is breath taking. Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth said...

Anna! I kind of thought you might be on-line today! I just emailed you ... finally! :-> Thank you for sharing the pictures. They're BEAUTIFUL! :-> A wonderful day to you too ...

lady jane said...

Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your surroundings. Loveliness.

I hope your day is like a sweet aroma. :o)

elena rulli said...

An happy week start to you and your husband, too!
By the way, nice fotos! You live in a beautiful area!

zetor said...

Love the photos. The flowers, sunset and bunny are gorgeous. Pleased you had a restful dayYpur post is very interesting , as usual.

Lauren said...

Beautiful photos!

Candy- A Pretty Home said...

Dear Mrs. Anna T :)
As you know, Ive been one of the first that ever started coming here to your blog when you started this blog and you know I LOVE it. But, since you started talking about your way of life as a Jewish woman, I LOVE it even more :) :)
I love learning about your life.
I check bloglines every day and when it shows you or Home Living (Lady Lydia) have new posts..I get stuck for a sec LOL because I dont know which I want to read first LOL
Silly I know but I have to be honest, I just really love to read both your and her blogs!
I love when you post pictures. These pics today are lovely.
I cant wait for you to post pics of your home some time in the future.
I havent mailed your card yet because Ive been trying to gather a few things around my home to send you. I will send it soon though.
What I especially love about your life is the simplicity and pureness and just the daily living seems to be MUCH slower then life here in Canada where we all live so rushed and must go, go, go and do, do, do. ----Not so much in my home though as were homebodies and because both Rob (my sweet husband) and I both desire a simplier way of life. In fact its been on my heart more than ever before to live more humbly and modestly.
I really respect you for how you live your life, how you "walk the walk". Because, my heart has been broken when I witness people in my type of "religion" (Christianity specifially evangelicals) live their life just like the rest of the world. Its become hard to tell who is living according to the Word of God anymore, even in our churches. It makes for confusion and explains why we have been getting a decline in attenance in the evangelical churches over the years.
Sorry Im making this comment so long LOL (you dont have to post it if you dont want, if its too long)
Anyway, I want you to know that the way you live your life and follow what you believe is such a great example to all of us. We need more people in the world like you to be examples, let me tell ya!

Love from Canada,

Dawn said...

Dear Anna ~

So glad to hear you have had a restful Sunday. So did me and my DH. I even blogged about it and shared some photos of our day today :-)
I am interested in knowing what Orthodox Jewish ladies do concerning 'our monthly friend' as I am open to learning about why other faiths do what they do and why.
You can always email me:

Bless you dear Sister.

Thia said...

Thank you for your insights into such matters. I understand what a personal matter the monthly cycle thing is, but it would be interesting to hear from you on it. (I was not the original poster). The reason I say this is b/c I find the perspective on the Sabbath to be not just interesting, but important, the whole idea of following God's command to rest. I think, from the times I've read through the OT, that God sets women apart for a further rest, in some ways, during their cycle. Some of it had to do with sanitary reasons, I am sure, but I think there was something more. There's my two cents.
Oh...cute bunny!!!

Green Eyes said...

What a beautiful place to live in! Not only that, but how wonderful it is that you can recognize that beauty, instead of speeding past it day in and day out.

neuropoet3 said...

Thanks for sharing your photos with us - the sunset in particular is gorgeous. :) I love to hear you talk about being an Orthodox Jew - there is such a respect for your own beliefs in what you write and it's rare to see people talk that way anymore. As a Catholic I completely understand the duality of oral and written beliefs, but I know that for many people the idea is foreign so I'm glad you touched on it a bit.
I understand that the question about women's cycles could be too personal for such a well read blog, but could those of us who were interested in the question email you separately (aside from the original poster)? I don't want to bother you if you would prefer to drop the subject. :)

I hope your week goes well,
Peace be with you,

Michelle Potter said...

Shabbat sounds so lovely to me. Honestly, I don't have a very busy life, but it seems like everyone around me is always trying to fill their time with a million distractions, and I get caught up in it, too. How wonderful it must be to have a guarantee of a quiet, tv- and computer-free day every single week.

Buffy said...

I always like seeing your photos, and it's interesting hearing more about an Orthodox Jewish sabbath. If you can find a discreet way of discussing monthly cycles I would be interested to read about it. We seem very poor at handling them in our modern world/society.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna,

I am new to your blog and am so very excited because I have been searching for a blog about Israel!

I love your posts about godly living and I love your God.

Thank you for blessing me so!


Mrs. Anna T said...

Ladies, thank you for your comments. Those who are curious about the monthly cycle subject can contact me by email.

Stephanie said...

Absoluteyl beautiful pictures, Anna! I love most of your posts, but this statement surprised me...

"I don't brush my hair on Shabbat because if I do that, I might accidentally tear hairs out - which is forbidden."

Who forbids this? Is this part of the Old Testament?

Looking forward to your answer. :)

tales_from_the_crib said...

thank you once again for a lovely and educational post.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tearing hairs out on Shabbat is another of the things that are specified in the Oral Law.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs and (as always) positive words. Have a lovely day!


Stephanie said...

Thanks, Anna. So..."Oral law" - that means man, not God?

Gila said...

Most of the single women I know light two candles, and not one. Including the Orthodox ones. I believe the minhag varies from community to community.

Lily said...

Interesting about the Oral Law and the Written Law. In Catholicism we have the same, Tradition with a capital "T" is the teaching which was not written down formally, rather passed down through as traditions in the Church by example and instruction.

Anonymous said...

Great photos, Anna. What are the gorgeous pink flowers?....something like a bougainvillea?

I, like so many of your other readers, am interested in the 'hows' & 'whys' of the Orthodox Jewish life. Please share as much as you are able!