One Shabbes Fiasco.

“He who prepares for Shabbat has what to eat on Shabbat. He who does not prepare for Shabbat does not have what to eat on Shabbat.” -Source: Avodah Zara 3a (probably paraphrased)

It seems to me the underlying teaching is that no-one would break Shabbes! Boy, those days are gone.

On Friday morning, I went food shopping with my food stamps and had a great deal of fun. I suspect this will make some people angry, but since food stamps are more like Monopoly money than wages, I feel free to use them for special treats that I wouldn’t normally buy. This week, I bought fresh cherries, chocolate pudding, and healthy juices made from beets and carrots. The “working poor” cannot afford those sorts of foods. Grocery shopping put me in the mood for oneg.

When it was time to bring in Shabbes, I discovered that there was nary a candle in the house. Oooh. I missed that one and had nothing to light. Plowing ever forward, I brought in Shabbes without candles but still with honor.

Then I got so tired and had to lay in bed for a while. That happens to me a lot on Shabbes. It’s a good sign. When I awoke, I didn’t even want to eat my special meal, but I wanted to do Kiddush since I missed the candle-lighting bracha. I ate some food: rye bread with cream cheese and salmon, garlic pickles, hummus – but something upset my stomach.

Even though I set my table in my bedroom (at my writing desk), I was still whispering my prayers. Why am I doing that?

Later in the evening, my parents were in the living room, watching a horrible television program about kidnappers who were torturing people. The victims were screaming, and I could hear it in my bedroom. It was seriously upsetting to me. I keep telling my mother that that kind of violence is not good for anyone’s psyche. It’s just not healthy for anyone to watch that very realistic violence. I avoid using my computers on Shabbes because they will burn out more quickly when you do that. (My friend in Israel, S*, who watches movies every Shabbat, goes thru laptops and headsets like water.), but I put my headphones on and watched “Ever After High Thronecoming” on my laptop. We are not supposed to watch internet Torah on Shabbat, technically, so I watched one of the episodes in Hebrew. It’s a very American compromise: not Torah, but Ivrit.

On Saturday, I spent most of the day sleeping and resting because I was extremely tired from the stressful week and my stomach was upset. I cheated and worked on some creative projects. One thing I learned in Israel is that if a person is going to machale Shabbat, they need to do it in private so that they do not cause suffering to their neighbors. For example, Israelis who smoke cigarettes on Shabbat would never do it in the street in front of others. That’s just disrespectful. The Russian-Israelis frequently don’t keep Shabbat because it was denied to them in their own countries. They love to watch television and listen to the radio, but they are discreet about it. All my neighbors in Tzfat, kept or didn’t keep Shabbat as they saw fit, without infringing on anyone else’s religious observance nor forcing mass obedience. Israel is a great nation.

I read a really inspiring paragraph in Likutey Moharan volume 2 (which I unfortunately did not bookmark) about Hashem’s Shefa, that He pours all the Shefa down on us, it filters down through the sefirot, and fills Malchut (this world). We are able to receive it one-by-one according to our individual capacity. Rebbe Nachman writes than one reason a person may receive less shefa than another is because that person is “full of themselves” (i.e. arrogant). They literally don’t have room for Hashem and miss out on the good that He is sending. It made me really happy to read that Abba is sending good to us all the time. It bears repeating.

In conclusion, I did not keep Shabbat at the level I wanted to (or am used to). The question is: Why record my failures?

  1. Because it’s not a failure, it was just a rough week.
  2. I record everything.
  3. There is always a lesson tucked inside every experience.

I agree with Ramchal. There is order in the universe and Hashem is continually leading me to perfection.


“One Shabbes Fiasco.” is copyright © 2014 by Poorkitteh. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.