After studying the Light of Shabbat in Rabbi Sherman’s class on Wednesday night, my wife Susan and I approached Shabbat on Friday afternoon with some new thoughts about Shabbat’s spiritual light.
In the midrash (Genesis Rabbah 11:2), we learn that the light of a person’s face during hol (weekdays) is different from the light of their face on Shabbat. This means that on Shabbat the inwardness (penimiyut) is revealed.
Every week, as we prepare for Shabbat, a time to stop and think about where we are in our lives, we look forward to the light of Shabbat —the spiritual light of community, music, and the joy of seeing each other. Yet we always take for granted the physical light around us. But this Friday, just before sundown, the town of Dover was hit with a snowstorm-caused power failure. There was no external light, no light on our faces, nor way to connect to the community as our internet was down. How do you create sacred time without light?
Using a cell phone and three candles to light up our space, we gathered in our dining room to watch the TBE service on a small cell phone screen. With a challah, Kiddush cup, and Shabbat candle sticks, we were able to create a sacred space. As you can see in the picture, we were able to participate, almost as usual.
Wishing all of you lots of light on Shabbat.