Invisible royalty

Because Shabbat has no physical form, it instead imposes reality upon the pre-existing world around it. It smoothes over rough walkways, adding a sheen and a softness to cement and filling out the missing branches of storm-damaged trees.

This improved world is only visible to those whose hearts beat in time to Shabbat’s singular destiny. Their neighbors must think it odd see otherwise rather sane individuals carefully pulling off coats and gloves as though they were made of ermine and velvet, and raising plastic cups of juice in tribute as they would goblets of gold-flecked ambrosia or sparkling Champaign in the hall of the king.


Big and small

I believe in the relevance of this nightfall when I stand in the prairie, under a round sky deeper than eternity, colder and more distant than the human mind can bear.

I believe in the significance of Shabbat, though the urban skyline pushes me in, and the only stars are the ones that circle above, waiting for permission to land.

I wrap myself, my family, my life in Shabbat because it holds back the agoraphobic world, pulls in horizons and levels the sprawling towers. In another day they will spill out uncontrolled, but for tonight the world is made up of only a handful of people and enough time to enjoy their presence.


Double manna

In olden times, when food from skies was the only way to dine,
And the Sabbath’s rest was ensured and blessed by Friday morning time
With manna once and manna twice, double providence divine,
Our stomachs filled with heaven’s yield, headier than wine.


Pet shop with allegory

Shabbat tells the story of the time when she went to the pet store. There was a box full of adorable tiny puppies, but she could only pick one. The puppies all ran away from her—except for one little runt with floppy ears. And Shabbat picked up that puppy and she said, “I will love you and feed you and take you on walks, so long as you play with me and welcome me home every day.” So Shabbat and the puppy lived happily ever after.

“A puppy?” I ask when she finishes. “Really? In your version I’m a puppy?”

“Yeah, why not? Just look at those big brown eyes. You are so cute!”

Before I can stop her, Shabbat leans over and ruffles my hair. I protest, but I know that if that’s how she remembers the story, then that’s how the story’s getting told.