My Solitary Friday Night

My Solitary Friday Night

Last week, as part of our family business, we hosted 4 tourist groups totalling around 80 people before, after, and during Shabbat.

So it felt especially strange to spend Friday night this week in Baltimore, all alone. I spent most of Shabbat day at the hospital, alternating visits to my father with reading and overeating in the phemonenally well-stocked Bikur Cholim room.
But Friday night it was just me. My father in the hospital, me on my own in my childhood home. It had felt weird earlier on Friday to food shop for one. And then on Friday night to make kiddush for myself. I drew the line at singing Eshet Chayil.
But the sweetest part of this solitary Friday night was singing Lecha Dodi. Firstly, because I never sing Lecha Dodi. After the exhausting weekly pre-Shabbat marathon I light candles and crawl into bed until the meal.
But this Friday, my regular pre-Shabbat marathon was replaced by a leisurely stroll from the fridge, where I unscrewed the lightbulb, to the kitchen counter, where I prepared a single salad. For one.
And then something amazing happened. Nearly unprecedented. This Friday night I actually had energy for Kabbalat Shabbat. I sang some of the psalms. Nothing special.
But then came Lecha Dodi. I looked at the words. I’ve read them before, of course. “Come my Beloved to greet the Shabbos Bride.” As though I’m personally inviting Hashem to join me in welcoming Shabbos. But these words, sung in Jerusalem, surrounded by a multitude of other Jews welcoming the Shabbos Queen alongside me always left me cold. A mass collective Lecha Dodi.
But this Friday it was just me. No other Shabbat-observant Jews on my block or maybe for miles around.
“Hashem, it’s just You and me here. In this big empty house. Nobody around here even knows it’s Shabbos! But I know. And You know. So maybe, You know, if it’s not too presumptuous, we could go together? To greet the Shabbos bride?
And without saying even a single word, my hand in His, off we went.

4 comments

  1. I totally get this.

  2. What a beautiful, heartwarming thought!

  3. Why not sing Eishet Chayil? It praises the Torah/ Shabbat which are compared to the woman of the home. Why wouldn’t you sing to honor them?

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