As I am preparing for the Sabbath today (cleaning, sweeping, cooking, organizing, etc.) I try to take a moment to soak in a chapter from "Keeping the Sabbath Wholly." Her thoughts today are refreshing regarding beauty and community on the Sabbath:
Concentrating on beauty, especially in terms of light, has long been a part of the Jewish Sabbath liturgy. The traditional home service for Sabbath eve begins with this prayer:
"Come, let us welcome the Sabbath in joy and peace! Like a bride, radiant and joyous, comes the Sabbath. It brings blessing to our hearts; workday thoughts and cares are put aside. The brightness of the Sabbath light shines forth to tell that the divine spirit of love abides within our home. In that light all our blessings are enriched, all our griefs and trials are softened."
Furthermore, the call of the Sabbath day to cease our work and striving and productivity gives us time for such ineffecient things as sitting quietly together and enjoying one anothers' comapny, writing letters or making phone calls to distant loved ones, and thinking about others and spending extra time in prayer for them or making gifts for them. Jews include in their customs big celebratory meals in which they sit around the table singing, arguing points of Torah, and sharing wine and good food- all of which draw people more intimately together. In addition, rabbinic guidelines include an injunction that married people shoud have sex on the Sabbath.
Well, there you have it. Go make some Sabbath whoopee. That's an order, married ones.
Have you see my Challah bread? Yum.