The Deronda Review
by Beverly Mach Geller
centuries old traditions
cleaning, cooking, baking
bathing - spiritual purity
coins put aside for charity.
Wearing holiday attire
The royal Bride, The Queen, Shabbat.
rumbling trucks, screeching cars
come to rest,
stores and restaurants, shuttered.
The Sabbath siren sounds
heralding the holy hour.
Candle lighting welcomes its beloved
Shabbat the Queen.
greetings of Shabbat Shalom
linger in the air, mingle
with aromas of chicken soup
cholent, kugel, cake,
perfume of flowers.
Voices in song
drift through windows, blend
of love and praise for God
to Shabbat, L'cha Dodi - Come My Dear One ...
to Mother, Ayshes Chayil - Woman of Valor. ..
a blessing for each child,
Sabbath candles, challah, wine.
Remember the Sabbath day
in your heart and soul with joy
and love and inner peace.
Sabbath peace stretches
Murmur of voices at morning prayers,
families strolling home for midday meals
graced by guests, as in Abraham's tent,
chatter of children, shouts, laughter,
playful breezes teasing
clothing left on the line.
Released from weekday routines, some nap.
Car cluttered streets transform
parents push baby carriages
swings fly on playgrounds
teenagers meet at youth groups
boys flirt, girls pretend not to notice
friends visit - entire neighborhoods are kin
tea, coffee, cake, conversation.
For others, thoughts turn inward:
help heal the world
come closer to God.
In homes and synagogues
Bible study - Jewish law lingered over
discussion groups - a yearning for peace, beauty, mercy
a redeemer, the coming of Moshiach.
A leisurely meal
three stars in a darkened sky
the Sabbath Queen departs.
Marking the close of Shabbat,
dividing it from weekdays,
the family gathers at home
for the havdalah ceremony.
A blessing, the father fills
a wine cup, overflowing,
signifying abundance and joy.
A blessing, the spice container,
passed for each to smell,
recalls the fragrance of Shabbat.
A blessing, Father kindles
a braided multi-wick havdalah candle
held by hand or special candlestick
in a darkened room
dividing dark from light,
symbolizing Light, God's first creation
and Fire, to benefit mankind.
A blessing, Father snuffs the havdalah candle
in the saucer with wine
from the cup that runneth over.
Families and friends embrace
to wishes of shevuah tov, a good week
in song and greeting.
Your stones, O Jerusalem,
have seen civilizations rise and fall
and have come full circle.
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
eternal Sabbath peace.
Shabbat: Sabbath, from Friday’s sundown to Saturday’s sundown
Shabbat shalom: traditional greeting, Sabbath peace
cholent: meat, vegetable and bean stew
kugel: traditional pudding-like food of potatoes or noodles