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!