A song for Shabbat

Shabbat she sits, staring—seeming to stir when I start to sing but only swaying softly, her starlit eyes conspicuously somber as she searches across the scattered landscape. Does she seem scared? I yearn to assuage her fears, to assure her even in her unsettled stupor that she is the sole possessor of my spiritual devotion, that if she should smile—only smile!—my soul would shatter into shards and wisps of splendor.



Shabbat is a time for contracting, for drawing in the widespread arms and fingers of influence. It is a time to abdicate some of the enormous responsibility of the earth, to admit that the sun and moon will continue dancing across the sky whether or not we try to prod them on their way.

On Shabbat, the world becomes a geode. It sits and waits. Later, when we look into it, we might find just a few tattered shards of meaning. On a perfect, transcendent week though, the simple act of drawing back from mundane concerns might led to something entirely new—a glittering paradise that would never have been possible in a more densely packed world.


The art of a perfect sunset

Shabbat was already on the patio when we walked outside to eat. He wasn’t dressed for a summer dinner, though. He wore overalls splattered with glittering, iridescent paint—colors that could have come straight from another world.

“Dinner entertainment,” Shabbat said, guessing at our question. “Don’t mind me. Just sit down and enjoy your meal.”

And then he dipped a paintbrush into the carrots. He lifted it and the blob of orange at its tip toward the washed-out blue-white sky, and he applied the color just below some wispy clouds. He did the same with the cranberry glaze and the curried lentils, and then he splattered some wine on the eastern horizon, letting it seep through and darken his canvas.

He kept working through dinner and dessert, until the time came to roll coffee over the sky and scatter handfuls of sugar crystals across it to sweeten the darkness.


Four somethings

Shabbat is…
…as old as the shift from day to night, the desire for rest after hard work.
…newer than today’s dawn, and fresher than this morning’s dew.
…borrowed time from the world to come, a dip into eternity.
…that shade of dark, poignant blue that comes to the sky after sunset, before pure night. The color so thick with tones and subtleties that it almost hurts to watch it change into black.