Originally published May 12, 2017
In this week's parsha -- Emor -- God gives Moses the laws pertaining to our most important holidays: Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, Shavuot, and SHABBAT! In my opinion, the best thing about Shabbat is that it happens every week!
God tells us not to work on Shabbat, and the Temple service is described. But what you won't find in this parsha are commands to light candles or say kiddush over wine. Those are traditions that evolved later.
Every now and then, my family stumbles across a custom that we love so much that we then incorporate it into our own traditional Shabbat dinner. One of those is the poem by Chayim Nachman Bialik called Shabbat Ha-Malkah, or The Shabbat Queen. Bialik lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is considered a pioneer of Hebrew poetry. Not only do I think this is a beautifully descriptive poem, but I appreciate the feminine language. In my family, I recite it as the only woman at the table. I hope you like it, too.
The sun on the treetops no longer is seen.
Come, let us welcome Shabbat, the true Queen.
Behold her descending, the holy, the blessed,
and with her God's angles of peace and of rest.
Come now, dear Queen, with us abide.
Come now, come now, Shabbat, our Bride.
Shalom aleikhem, angels of peace.