February 20, 2003
A Portion of Parshat Ki Tisa
The Israelites slip up this week. They have only just received the Ten Commandments.They have heard God speak to them. They have vowed to do all God commands them. Forty days later, they're dancing around a calf made of melted golden earrings and calling it a god! What happened?
Have you ever had a serious talk with your parents and vowed never to misbehave again? You will never miss another homework assignment. The promise you make is a true one, made from the bottom of your heart. Two weeks later, you just can't take it anymore, and whoops --Â you forgot to do your spelling sheet. Keeping your promises, especially the important ones, is always an uphill battle. But don't give up. Wipe the slate clean and start again.
The jubilant laughing of guests flooding the arched doorways of my cozy house: The scent of roasted chicken and olives wafting from the kitchen; the bliss of people hugging and kissing each other saying, "Good Shabbat!" Welcoming the Shabbat bride is a tradition that will last forever in my family.
In Judaism, God created the world in six days and took a day off. That is the Sabbath, or Shabbat. It starts at sunset on Friday and ends on Saturday after sunset at Havdalah, which is a service to say Shabbat has ended. On Shabbat you are supposed to relax and not do any work. You are probably thinking to yourself, "I like this holiday."
One plus about Shabbat is the delicious food: The sauce smothered on roasted chicken; the sweet smell of lemon cake; the challah waiting to be dug into. "When do we eat?"
On Shabbat you say three blessings before you indulge in the feast:
The first one is for the candles. The women of the household light the two candles and say the prayer. You close your eyes during the prayer, and when you open them, the flicker of the flames mesmerizes you into thanks.
After that, you say the blessing for the wine. The man of the house holds up the cup and says the prayer that is music to my ears. Finally, we say the blessing over the challah. Then we eat!
After a great deal of eating and laughing, it is sadly time for the guests to go home. I immediately fall into the cloud of sleep and doze off into a dream. Now you know my favorite family tradition, one that will last in my heart forever.Â
Sophie Kay is currently a sixth grader at Curtis Elementary School.Â Â
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