Shabbat Tzovot

There are four tradtional “special” Shabbats during the year:  Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor, Shabbat Parah, and Shabbat haChodesh.  All of these occur during or near the month of Adar.  There is another special Shabbat that the women of Kohenet have identified and are figuring out ways to honor: Shabbat Tzovot. The traditional special Shabbats are when an extra Torah portion is read on a non-festival day.  In this case there is no extra Torah portion, but rather a special section of a Torah portion that we choose to honor in a unique way.  In this way it is more like Shabbat Shirah, when the “Song of the Sea” is read as part of the Torah portion, or one of several other notable named Shabbats.   I actually like that it would be the the sixth named Shabbats that do not have an extra Torah portion.  That means there is one for each point on the Magen David.  [note: this section of the post was added after the discussion in the comments from 2009] The Tzovah (singular form of Tzovot)  is one of the Netivot, or paths, of Shekhinah that we study at Kohenet. She is the priestess at the doorway; the sacred serving woman, the “temple keeper.”  The Tzovot is mentioned by name in the Torah and it is the Shabbat where this portion is read that we are identifying as Shabbat Tzovot.  The Tzovot is mentioned during the reading of Vayakhel (Ex 38:8).  The Tzovot are the ones who give over their sacred mirrors to create the wash basins for the priests. Here are several translations of this text: He made the laver of copper and its stand of copper, from the mirrors of the women who performed tasks at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. (jtsa.edu) He made the copper washstand and its copper base out of the mirrors of the dedicated women who congregated at the entrance of the Communion Tent. (bible.ort.org) And he made the laver of brass, and...

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Shabbat Deferred

I missed Shabbat this week. Completely. Work has been so crazy that by the time Friday rolls around I’m dead tired. The weeks have been feeling both incredibly long and fast. Each day feels like a marathon and yet when Friday hits, I have no idea how it can be Friday already. Shabbat is usually a welcome rest. Walking to the bakery to get my Challah after work always brings me a calmness that I love. I have this moment of fear before I get there as I wonder if they have run out before I can get there. When I see one Challah left, which is usually the case, I feel so happy! This week I left work in such a daze on Friday that I didn’t realize it was Sabbath until I got home. I was so wiped that I just sat on the couch. No candles. No challah. No wine. I just sat there. I was really confused about how I could forget to go to the bakery. I said a little prayer to myself welcoming the Sabbath and then went back to sitting on the couch. I guess I just needed the rest. In a way, I guess I did celebrate Sabbath this week. It’s been a nearly completely restful weekend, which I desperately needed. Good...

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Shabbos!

Someone asked an interesting question about Sabbath. Is it important what day we celebrate, as long as we honor the creator? We are told that the Sabbath is the seventh day in the Torah, but it does not say that the seventh day is Friday – our modern calendar does. The modern calendar goes from Sunday to Sunday, so sundown Friday is the beginning of the seventh day. Jewish days start at sundown, not midnight. Part of the power of using the same night as other Jews, is the connection to your tribe. You know that all over the world your extended tribe is stepping through many of the same ritual actions as you. I think the answer is up to you. I think in our modern world Friday night as Sabbath makes a great deal of sense. We work, generally, Monday to Friday, so stopping on Friday night to breath, rest, and reconnect, resonates strongly for me. We also often need at least one day of the weekend to do work around the house, with charities, or at a side job. Claiming Friday night through Saturday night as Sabbath allows us to have Sunday for other work. I think the important thing is taking the time to stop — and acknowledge how precious life is, how blessed you are, and that you are a part of a greater whole. The commandment says, “Honor the Sabbath and keep it...

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