How did this project start?

I made my first Shabbat image in late 2007. It was on Shabbat Noach, at the end of the holidays—a day that I later dubbed Shabbat Normal because it was our first return to the regular weekly rhythm after a month of joyful, soul-searching, thought-provoking and sometimes uncomfortable holiday upsets.

The timing is significant because, due to that year’s series of three day holidays and Yom Kippur’s invasion of Shabbat, we had gone for a solid month without offering a single welcoming party for the Sabbath bride. It was as if she had come in quietly through the service entrance week after week, ceding her position to the visiting dignitaries of the month of Tishrei.

I didn’t realize how much I had missed her grand entry until the evening of Shabbat Normal, when we began to sing. I cannot write with certainty that the spirit in the room was better on that night than on any other night, but it felt to me that everyone in the room was just as enthusiastic as I was about finally bringing Shabbat back to her place of honor. We welcomed the Sabbath bride not like a weekly visitor but like a long-awaited, yearned-for beloved.

During L’kah Dodi, as we sang about the arrival of Shabbat and the tune quickened halfway through the song, I felt that Shabbat herself was sharing our eagerness for a true reunion. Excitement drummed through me while voices thundered similar sentiments and words of welcome from all sides. The whole community seemed to be saying, person by person, “Finally, it can be just me and you again—with no distractions.” When we turned to the door to greet Shabbat, she entered as if on New Years Eve—with champagne, confetti and a breath-hitching kiss.

That evening’s reunion gave me a more intimate appreciation of Shabbat than any that I had experienced before, demonstrating what the Kabbalists meant by “the bride” and “the queen.”

Without meaning to at first, I began making up new Shabbat images every week. I kept them inside my head for about half a year, until a bleary-eyed post-Purim Shabbat story was funny enough that I wanted to share it. The positive responses I received from friends made me think that perhaps other people would be interested as well, so I began recording them week by week.