The joy of shabbat

How it encouraged me to enjoy

Sometimes I encounter difficulties enjoying things. My grandfather used to joke with me saying: “she cannot sit quietly in a chair for five minutes”. I am a busy person and I always feel I need to do something in order to feel satisfied and sometimes even to feel happy.

First steps
About three years ago I made the first steps towards separating Shabbat from weekdays. At that time I lived in Spain. On Shabbat morning I used to dress nicely, turn on Messianic music loudly in my flat (I was lucky that my landlady had to work on Saturday mornings). I used to prepare a nice plate of food, more special than on weekdays, and I gave the washing machine (and myself) a day off. Also the university assignments I postponed to the next day. And a few times I had the opportunity of going to a Messianic Jewish community on Saturday afternoons to celebrate the Havdala service. But at that time I was not aware of that yet.

The time went by and I grew in this “art” of celebrating Shabbat when I found Beth Yeshua. Honestly speaking I didn’t believe I would encounter such a warm and pure community in my own country. From that time on I learned how to set the Shabbat apart from weekdays by making Kiddush (and Havdala) and I try to prepare my own bread and a lovely meal. Now I could as well attend services on Shabbat. And nobody can stop me from doing that.

Shabbat alone
As I used to live quite far away from Amsterdam and because I’m still happily single, I spend many Shabbatot alone. Actually I could not get used to it so much, at first. But as the time went by I learned to enjoy it by making my own beautiful little Challah and preparing some days before on the food I bought and in cleaning and tying my home and to leave my profession on time. And recently I learned to slow down in my job on Friday afternoons. I purchased a booklet in which the phonetic words of every part of the Kiddush ceremony is described. These elements are the framework in which I found my Shabbat rest.

Indescribable joy 
Celebrating Shabbat alone just as much as among others helps me to take a break in the never stopping routine of work and private life. I breathe heavenly restoration and I experience to be filled with great joy. I almost don’t know how to describe it! The fact that there is nothing that I should do in the house like cleaning, washing, ironing, tying up ect., that the house is already clean and that I do not feel guilty just sitting on the couch and taking all time to enjoy the best meal of the week, music, silence. That’s just perfect.

By this time I can say that this am-busy-tious young woman has learned to stop and to just ENJOY. Now from Shabbat I learned this art and I am practicing it in other parts of the week as well. I feel this is a little secret, a treasure, that every believing person should discover for himself or herself. And it will bless him or her in every single part of his or her life, just as it did in mine.

Anne Mulder