Friday, June 13, 2014

Real life shabbat: If You Want to do it the Easy Way

I wrote this in around 2006 when I had a 2-year old and a newborn. Have you ever seen The Fresh Beat Band? My kids loved watching this show. To solve a problem, Twist would always concoct some crazy scheme to make things happen, often involving something flying or rolling. Then, one of the other kids would state the obvious solution, and Twist says, "If you want to do it the easy way!" 

That's how I feel about Erev Shabbat dinner. All too often, we concoct solutions to make things perfect, but it detracts from what is important. Look for the obvious, simplified solutions..."If you want to do it the easy way!"

I have to say that I totally understand the trials of getting  Shabbat on the table on a consistant basis. For my family, Shabbat started happening consistantly after Daniel was born. But I don't think it was so much of having a child, but rather where I was in my walk.

There are a couple of important things that I started to remember that helped me start begin consistant with Erev Shabbat. Think: Baby Steps!

1. It does not have to be perfect. The point of an Erev Shabbat dinner is to remember and observe, not to be perfect. Our children will remember the candles and the family...what they're eating won't matter so much.

2. Plan, plan, plan. Throw something simple into the crock-pot for dinner. Make a meal on Thursday night to reheat. Cut up all of the veggies on Wednesday or Thursday. Buy your challah...or better yet, just get rolls.

When I first was determined to celebrate Erev Shabbat consistantly, I gave myself allowances: I didn't have to have chicken soup, homemade challah, and a 3 course meal. I just had to have dinner, bread, grape juice, and candles. I'm sure there was at least one week that I've made boxed maccaroni and cheese (yeah...nutrition's 
worst nightmare) with rolls from the bakery at the grocery store and frozen veggies. But we had a Shabbat dinner, and I know that the purpose was met.

Now, 2-1/2 years later, there are still days that the dinner is unplanned, but I find it easier to get to making the homemade challah in the bread machine...even on those challenging days. Daniel knows what time it is when I get the candle sticks out. In fact, I can't get them out too far in advance, or he'll sit in his chair at the table waiting for Shabbat to start. Maybe in a few months, he'll want to help me make the challah. I don't know. But I know that I'm building memories for my children. We're also setting the stage for moments our children can learn about Torah, HaShem, and Y'shua. If they are comfortable talking to us at the age of 2, and things are consistent, they will know that we're here when they are saying the blessings for us as they approach their Bar Mitzvah.

The first step to being consistant in celebrating Erev Shabbat is your desire to do so. The next step is to strip things to the bare bones. We have little what you can do. Keep it simple: candles, grape juice (ok, or wine), Challah, and Dinner. The rest will come.

Let me challenge you to start thinking about Shabbat today. When you do your shopping, plan a simple and quick meal,(who wouldn't like burgers on the grill?) and pick up a challah and rolls. Set the table, and light the candles. I've taken to putting out a tablecloth. The first night I did that, my husband had taken off his shoes before dinner, came in, and went to put his shoes back on. The extra minute I took to put the cloth on the table set the tone for a special evening.

Shabbat Shalom, Friends!

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