Shabbos Gets Better and Better Because…

Shabbos Gets Better and Better Because…

…it starts earlier. I know that some of us think this, but I’m saying it. Hear me out, it’s the same 25+hours. While I am all for a long afternoon in the “Shabbos” park and playdates that seem to go on for hours, I like the winter months.

I happen to like the fact that in the winter, I can chose to go to a longer Shabbos night davening (like a Carlebach-style minyan) and not have to worry about keeping my family starving and waiting for me at home.

I like the fact that after dinner, my wife and I have time to spend with our kids without feeling guilty about keeping them up late. We often play games, schmooze, and on occasion, I have learned with my older kids. Also, our shul has an oneg every few weeks at the home of our Rabbi, so it’s nice to be able to get out and socialize, as well.

The truth is, Shabbos gets better and better as we and our children get older. Having children in kindergarten, fourth grade, and sixth grade means that they sometimes play together, are able to initiate and participate in parsha-based discussions and general “table talk”.

My son, recently was learning the halachos of kiddush in school and mentioned that by drinking from the kiddush cup and pouring the wine into other cups, I am creating in a “Kos Pagum,” a “deficient cup,” from which it is improper for anyone else to drink from. After looking up his source (the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch), researching it, and consulting my Rav, we altered the distribution of the kiddush process. Had my son not been learning this, we would have never changed our system.

My two older children also are in sleep over mode. Sometimes they will will have friends sleep over and other times they will sleep someplace else (for Shabbos or after Shabbos). Not only does this allow our children to be exposed to how other Torah homes operate, but it gives them a feeling of independence.

As someone who started keeping Shabbos when I was 16 (now I am 41), I never went through the often rough transition of switching in my adulthood to Shabbos-mode (like the oven). In the end, Shabbos is totally what you make.

5 comments on “Shabbos Gets Better and Better Because…

  1. Shabbos is wonderful, summer, winter or whatever.

    Shabbos in the winter is difficult because Erev Shabbos then becomes a race-the-clock event, especially for those moms who have to work part of a day on Fridays. There never seems to be enough time, but it is more obvious when Shabbos starts at 4:11 than when it starts at 8:11.

    I admire greatly Azriela Jaffe’s efforts to have Shabbos ready by Chatzos (mid-day) on Friday. It is far, far better than running like mad into Shabbos by the skin of one’s teeth. (Sorry to mix metaphors, but you know what I mean…the frantic rush to finish all necessary preparations before candle lighting).

    Years ago, I was more ambitious about “doing things” on those long winter Friday nights, such as going to a ladies’ shiur or to a local Sholom Zachor (especially when the mom and newborn are home already). Now that I’m older, my weary self can barely make it to Benching after the Friday night Seudah before I gratefully climb under the blankets for the best and most restful sleep of the whole week. In fact, I uaually fall asleep on the couch after Candle Lighting while waiting for Hubby to come home from shul to make Friday night Kiddush. Hubby has to wake me up for Shalom Aleichem and Ayshes Chayil.

    My favorite Shabbos of the whole year is the Shabbos of Sukkos. Usually we have family members over, and there is a great feeling of camaraderie and warm bonding over cake and hot tea sitting in the Sukkah. But I suspect everyone has a “favorite” Shabbos, and most of the best Shabbosos involve good company, good food, good songs, and good Torah talks.

  2. Thanks for the comments.

    Steve, I agree that zmiros and divrei Torah are key to a meal, but sometimes younger kids just want to have the attention of their parents.

    Anonymous: Shabbos, like most things, is all about what you put into it. If you make the effort, it’s worth it. It is common for most baalei teshuva to say, “I can’t imagine what my life would be without Shabbos Kodesh”, because once your body and soul get use to keeping Shabbos, it just feels right.

    Luckily we slowly progress to the summer nights. Some communities make Shabbos earlier than candle lighting (please discuss with your local Orthodox Rabbi regarding the custom in your community) and if your schedule allow it, this is a good option.

    Summer is great, too. But, I’ll be honest, I like the winter and getting up in the morning and walking to shul with frost coming out of my mouth. The smell of hot chullent in shul when I arrive on a Shabbos morning is so very special.

  3. I like this post. Shabbos has been getting better for me too. I haven’t been keeping it long enough to know how I will like the summer nights though.

  4. Shabbos gets better and better as your family realizes that a real Shabbos Seudah requires their input with respect to Zmiros and Divrei Torah as well as learning with your children. If you daven Kabalas Shabbos/Maariv even “bzmano” during the summer, this can be accomplished at the Leil Shabbos meal, but with the appropriate level of sensitivity for those who would rather allow the daytime meal for the same.

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