Just a few more touches and everything would be—

“Did you add the garlic powder?” Shabbat asked. He was right behind me, practically bumping my shoulder. I hadn’t even realized he had arrived.

I almost jumped. Almost dropped the tongs, almost yelled something. I managed to stop myself though, and just took a step to the side. “You’re hovering again,” I warned him. He made a face.

“Did you set the coffee pot? Is the porch light on? You remembered that Mark’s allergic to sesame, right?”

Instead of replying, I sprinkled coriander on the salad. “I’ve got it under control,” I said, trying not to clench my teeth.

Still he continued. “Is the laundry out of the dryer? Did you child-proof the house for Olivia? How many bottles of wine did you buy?”

Over time, his pestering diminished into the background.


Journeys of fancy

Shabbat is a chameleon, blending into the best part of where you want to be. It’s your happy place—your escape. If you wish you were back in bed, then Shabbat is a fluffy down comforter. If you imagine yourself at an amusement park, then Shabbat is the best roller coaster, nobody in line. It’s all relative.

Sometimes the day stretches long and empty, like a dusty, baking desert road. Tedious hours of trudging spent under the constant fear of bandits, in a place so far from home that the stars have no names.

If you let it then, Shabbat will be an evening oasis—with cool winds and rustling leaves, with music and spices in the air, with refreshed travelers telling stories of places you’ve never been but have dreamed of all your life.
What does your Shabbat need to be?


Rose tinted reality

Shabbat places an indelible sheen upon the world, obscuring the otherwise clear and causing tiny theological ponderings to loom larger than practicalities.

It sands happiness to the precision of ecstasy and devours doubt, grinding sadness into discomfort and whispering solutions just a little too true for the world to bear.


New baby

They haven’t been the same since Shabbat joined their family. They never go out anymore. We only see them when they invite their old friends over, in twos or threes, for sedate home-cooked meals.

We come and we walk on eggshells, terrified of somehow upsetting this demanding, easily displeased presence. Shabbat doesn’t even have to be in the room to be the center of attention. Shabbat has turned their lives upside-down.

After dinner, he walked me to my car and I asked him how he handled all these new restrictions and responsibilities. “It’s hard,” he admitted. “And nothing will ever be how it used to be. But I don’t think I can explain to you how—how worth it it all is. How empty the old days seem now. But who knows? Maybe it’ll happen to you some day. Then you’ll understand.”

Not likely. I said goodbye and left.


Ritual helps but isn’t necessary

She came without candles, she came without wine.
All she needed was quiet, a chance to unwind.
No blessings were uttered, but time ticked along,
Past gloaming and sunset, to twilight then dawn.

And she’ll leave without spices, when the hour’s passed away.
She’ll slip out like clockwork; don’t ask her to stay.
She’ll come again next week, a fresh new Shabbat.
To rest on your home, invited or not.



If you want to take part of Shabbat with you through the week, wear opals.

Opals are every bit as white as Shabbat in her splendor. Like Shabbat they are precious—but crack if they’re handled roughly.

And if you look at them in the right lighting, from just the right angle, you can see a little someone who looks a lot like Shabbat dancing inside, an aurora of flame.


Cohesion (or, Shabbat shalem)

When its day ends, Shabbat doesn’t just walk out. It dissipates, wafting through the world in shards and wisps, nestling into restful crannies.

So sing your welcome loudly if you want it to hear you. Your voice needs to reach all the way to Shabbat—pressed against the binding of your favorite book, to Shabbat—burrowing through the pillow down, and all the way to the bathroom—where Shabbat has spent the week riding the ripples astride your rubber duck.

Call out, and Shabbat will come running in spirals from the deepest core of the conch shell. You won’t hear its footsteps above the soft ocean murmur. It will arrive with the speed of light, returning from an aweing desert sunrise.

And when the final piece flits from the corner of your smile, all of Shabbat will stand whole before you, ready to say, shalom.


The anniversary when numbers stop mattering

I bend down to grab a bowl; Shabbat reaches over my head for a plate. At the same moment that I step forward with my left foot, Shabbat takes a mirror image step back on right. Shabbat doesn’t bother saying the things that I already know, and I bring home the same presents every week because Shabbat likes them best.

There’s no fumbling to it, no exotic mystery or unexpected discoveries. We have a schedule, and we both do our best to make it work.

We fit together, not an inch of space between us—but not because of natural serendipity. We have been shaped by years of gentle sanding, the erosion of consistency. Shabbat has heard all of my serenades before, and knows them well enough to ask for favorites.



The fiery horses were already hitched to the chariot, so Shabbat accepted the offer of a quick ride down to Earth.

“This was a bad idea!” she announced as they surged in from the east. “We’ll be late! You always are! I can’t remember the last time you showed up at a decent hour.”

“Relax! I know your schedule,” the prophet yelled, above the startled honks of a V of geese. “And besides, there’s late—and there’s late. I only arrive after the action because I leave at the last possible minute. Spend all my time sitting around, asking our mutual friend to join me for the ride.”

“Any luck?”

“Have you seen the state of the world?”

Shabbat sighed. Molten hooves thundered to a stop on potholed blacktop. “Pick me up at the usual time?”

“Who knows—maybe tomorrow I’ll come early. Always have room for one more passenger.”