The holiness of the Shabbat table
An introduction to Shabbat
The first shadows of the last day of the week. The first lights of Shabbat, the seventh day of the week, lit by the ritual lighting of the candles.
Then, the blessings: to the light, to the sons and daughters and to the food. And the memories: my grandmother Enie, dressed up with silk scarf, pearl necklace and her scarlet lips, sitting at the table early, awaiting the arrival of Shabbat. My mother Raquel, cheerful and obliging, with her silver platters full of exquisite food and her sweet words....
White tablecloth, flowers, candles and some guest or unexpected visitor, who had just been passing by, only to say 'hello', nothing else, and who joined the feast because of the delicious smell of the food..
Thus, while glasses and plates are handed around, with every blessing and with every mouthful, the aspects of earthly everyday matters are being transcended towards the most sublime and spiritual aspects of Shabbat, the holy day of rest and contemplation.
A note on the holiness of the Shabbath table: When we sanctify the Shabbat food, we sanctify ourselves; as we make our actions into something holy, we participate in the holiness. Turning the Shabbat food into something holy by carefully preparing it and blessing it constitutes an act of faith, like a prayer, and faithfulness to the community. It also is, definitely a way to rise up and connect with our own most intimate holiness.