May we all be blessed as I was to taste what Shabbos really is.
As we went through Shabbos, we saw the visible layers of our lives, our stories, and our challenges, peel away as we all melted into the Oneness of purpose, of soul, and of Shabbos. Shabbos is said to be a taste of Olam Haba where we are given a perspective of the goodness and oneness of our seemingly perplexed and purposeless lives. I always thought I'd have to wait until Please G-d 120 to get that taste.
I met women from all stratas of Klal Yisroel. As time when on, we learned that within our group we had widows, divorcees, mothers of terminally ill, and of struggling teens. We had older singles and fresh young women just starting their careers of adulthood. We had mothers of large families, grandmothers, and a great-grandmother as well. There were educators, Torah teachers, artists and healers. And there were survivors of abuse and ladies recovered or currently struggling with illness. There were FFBs, BTs, converts, and everything in between. But somehow each women's story melded into the collective story we all shared: spiritual beings living a physical existence, striving to rise above our stories and mold into the Oneness of Hashem's Embrace.
I may not be able to recreate that Shabbos on my own, but I am forever grateful for the frame of reference that it gave me. I will forever treasure the sweet memory of experiencing Shabbos for what it really is, of tasting the sweetness of united, non-judgemental sisterhood, and of feeling embraced, ever so gently, by Heaven's gentle and Loving Hands.
A classic Yiddish song about Shabbos starts, "oy, oy oy, Shabbos...Oy, oy, oy Shabbos...." I have no other words. How beloved and how enticing and what a privilege is it for me as a Jewish woman to welcome the Holy Shabbos. A woman understands that there is purpose to all our mundane acitivities. My take home is to incorporate the custom of braiding a six strand Challah in honor of Shabbos in order to remind us that the six days of the week can all be united to One, to Shabbos. There is purpose to the purposeless and meaning to the meaningless. Its all ONE. Wishing you all a Good Shabbos. A Heilige (holy) Shabbos. And with that, a Good and Holy Shabbos, you have everything. May we all be blessed as I was to taste what Shabbos really is, even just once. OY, oy, oy Shabbos....