lavendersparkle: Jewish rat (Rat)
[personal profile] lavendersparkle
In my previous post about the idea of a spiritual PDE, I wrote about the Jewish learning I was planning to undertake in the coming months. However, learning isn't the only mitzvah, so I want to think of areas to improve and targets to set for myself for other mitzvot.

I thought I good place to start would be would be the Lubervitcher Rebbe's 10 point mitzvah campaign, not because I think he is the magical invisible Messiah, but because he and the organisation he led were pretty good at getting Jews to be a bit more observant, so the 10 mitzvot he highlighted are probably good ones for a jumping off point to more observance.

The first in his list is:

1. Light Shabbat candles
I already light Shabbat candles. I think I would like to work more of my Shabbat observance. As I see it there are two problems with my Shabbat observance. The first is that I haven't sorted myself stuff to do during Shabbat. It wasn't so bad earlier in the year, I'd go to shul, come home, have lunch, have a schluff and Shabbat was out. Now Shabbat doesn't go out until 9:30 and I find myself looking at the clock after lunch and thinking it's an awfully long time until I can can get on with things. I don't want Shabbat to become like Sunday afternoons when I was a child and nothing was open and nothing was on TV apart from sport and I'd be bored out of my mind. I want Shabbat to be a delight. I love the Shabbats when there happen to be enough shul activities that I potter from house to house eating, praying and schmoozing. I think I'd like to improve this by planning activities before Shabbat. I think I'll try to make it the norm that Alec and I play games or go for walks during Shabbat. I also want to invite people over for Shabbat lunch.

Another area I want to work on is to following Shabbat prohibitions. I'm relatively shomer Shabbat, but there are areas where my observance could be improved, in particular using electricity and using Alec and a Shabbos goy. Thinking about it, I think a big problem is that I don't really know or understand exactly what the laws are. I doubt I'll ever observe Shabbat the way some people do, but I want that to be more of a conscious decision based on an understanding of the halachic reasoning and where I think I should be, rather than the current situation, where I do some things but not others because that's just where I've got to and I break some prohibitions which rabbis to the left of Masorti Judaism would say were binding but end up doing other things which only some Charedim do because I heard about it somewhere and didn't know any better.

There'll always be times when I have to make a trade off between Shabbat and something else. I'm going to want to go to weddings on Saturdays and sometimes that will involve breaking Shabbat prohibitions, but I want to be making those trade-offs from a position of knowledge and know how to minimise the infringements.

So my two goals for Shabbat observance are:

1. Organise to do fun things on Shabbat afternoon, rather than getting bored and counting the minutes until it goes out; and

2. Learn more about Shabbat observance, particularly Shabbat prohibitions, so that I can make an informed decision about what I want to change in my current practice.

That's where you guys can help. I've read the Shabbat section of Klein and I've ordered How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household to read about the issues in there. Can you suggest any other resources to get a better idea of Shabbat observance, preferably from a Conservative/Masorti perspective?

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lavendersparkle

July 2015

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