Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Sabbath involves both a withdrawing from the humdrum and whir of ordinary preoccupation and relishing sacred moments of time set apart from work and the pressures of the outside world, where food, candles, wine and prayer waft together as people decompress and reconnect with the rhythm of God, ourselves and those we love. Jewish traditional tells us that two candles are to be lit on the Sabbath. It is usually a woman who lights the candles, which represent the dual, slightly different reiterations of the Ten Commandments in the Hebrew Bible. We are told in Exodus to "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy." Deuteronomy instructs us to "guard the Sabbath." Rabbis Kerry M Olitzky and Daniel Judson write in their book, Jewish Ritual: A Brief Introduction for Christians, that everything comes in twos on the Sabbath: Two loaves of Challah bread, two angels to escort us home the Sabbath evening, two candles, and in some interpretations, two lovers enraptured in the "double mitsva" of sex on Shabbat. Olitzky and Judson communicate that on Shabbot, two is really about becoming One. "The Rabbis even say that the two times where the Ten Commandments appear in the Bible, God actually spoke them at the exact same time, somehow, in the mystery that is the Oneness of God...Shamor vezakhor bediboor echad, God utterered the words guard and remember as one word." And according to the most special text of Jewish Mysticism, The Zohar, "just as the male and female aspects of the Divine unite above, so they also unite below in the mystery of the Oneness.' Some understand this as a sensual whisper from Adonai on the Sabbath calling husbands and wives to weave the dance of sex as an act of worship. Could it be that just as Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen a holy path in setting aside the work to listen at Jesus feet, Sabbath might be a time of setting aside all but our lover? A time for a woman to light the candles, setting fires dancing, allowing moments to run seamless together with each caress of an unhurried tryst; passion mirroring the Divine male and female aspects of our Creator. Perhaps some Sabbath soon you will hear God whispering with a holy quiver, "Make love tonight."