My Shovavim Project

My Shovavim Project

Last week was the beginning of the Shovavim period. For these 6 weeks (almost until Rosh Chodesh Adar) we are supposed to make our lives holier, purer.
One year, for example, during the Shovavim period I upgraded my internet filter. One year, I was more careful about the modesty-level of videos I watch online.

And this year, for my Shovavim project, I’m focusing on upgrading my Shabbat.

The first issue I’m tackling is candle lighting. I had gotten into the habit of lighting Shabbat candles at nearly the last minute. So this week, and for the coming weeks, I will try my best to light at candle lighting time. That doesn’t mean that at candle lighting time I’m done cleaning up, or dressed for Shabbat, or that my family members are all ready yet. But after candle lighting time, for me there will be no more lighting lights, turning off the stove, checking my phone, etc.

I thought this would be stressful. But it actually wasn’t. I just got more stuff done on Thursday night and Friday morning. And lighting on time made the landing into Shabbat so much less turbulent. I hope that this Shovavim habit will be a keeper.

The other thing I’m doing is reading one page from a book about hilchot Shabbat every day. After almost 3 decades keeping Shabbat, I DO know how to keep Shabbat. Pretty much. But I’ve never studied hilchot Shabbat formally or thoroughly. So my understanding of the laws of Shabbat is somewhat blurry. I have lots of FFB kids around the house to ask (B”H!!), but I think it’s about time I learned this stuff for myself. So I’ve been trying…Page by page

Last week, for example, I learned that it’s forbidden to put wet clothing or a coat even near a radiator. I had been wondering about that.

And this morning, I learned something so exquisite, it made me feel renewed excitement about my Shovavim project.

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed writes in Pninei Halacha, “During the first 6 days of Creation, the Lord created the Heavens and the Earth, and it would seem that there was no need for an additional 7th day.
“But despite this fact, God created the 7th day and set it apart for sitting and resting, and that 7th day was what brought rest, tranquility, blessing and holiness into the world.
“The Maharal explained that non-stop working expresses a terrible yearning for perfection, a feeling of bottomless lack that can never be filled, that despite our work, labor, and exertion we don’t deserve the privilege of calm and rest, because the distance that remains between us and perfection remains so great, and the lack we feel pierces us so deeply.
“A person feels it’s impossible for him to stop working on account of all his bottomless lackings in need of fillings and his brokenness in need of fixing.
“And that is what life would look like if Adam had been created in 6 days without Shabbat, but when Shabbat was created, rest and peace [outer as well as inner] entered the world until this very day.”

6 comments

  1. What a great lesson from Pninei Halacha! I never thought of Shabbat that way.
    Good luck with your Shovavim project! You’ve inspired me.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your shovavim project! Each year I feel that I want to get the most out of shovevim. I love this period. But every year I feel that I somehow missed it and didn’t get out of it what I wanted. I really like the idea of choosing a specific topic to work on in different ways. I will start working on tefilla thanks to you. Thank you for being a continuous inspiration!!!

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