Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Shabbat: New Experiences and Emotions

Since I've been keeping Shabbat, I have had some that are absolutely fabulous and some that aren't as much. It depends on whom I'm with, mainly. This past Shabbat was so amazing; I can only attempt to explain it.

On Friday night, Emet and I went to a Reform shul. I haven't gone to a reform service since 2012, and so it noticeably is different from what I've been used to. There was just the right amount of silent meditation, and even though we didn't sing all the songs in Kabbalat Shabbat, there was a great deal of beautiful songs. As we got to the evening Amidah, I at first started reciting what I usually know, but when my words didn't go along with what was on the page of the book, I stopped and restarted with what was on the page. I was pleasantly surprised that the text had inserted references to Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, in addition to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I recognize the lack of our mothers in the usual Amidah that I recite, and whenever possible, I include them in the blessing after meals. Even so, I was overjoyed by their inclusion that it instantly affected the way I related to the Amidah that night. We continued praying and there was a lot of lovely singing. The shul we typically go to on Friday nights has been inadequate lately with the singing, and so it made me feel good when the singing was both beautiful and generally On (key, tempo, and together).

After shul, we walked to dinner, where we had been invited last minute. At the table, the queers outweighed the straights, and we had engaging conversations talking about all sorts of things. There were a few new people at the table, and it was interesting to listen to new stories.

In the morning, we went to Shira Chadasha, where Emet received her first aliyah to the Torah. I had forgotten that it was Rosh Chodesh and there was an inserted section called Hallel. This section is added into the morning service on certain holidays and festivals, including Rosh Chodesh. It consists of a number of psalms that have specific tunes, and not only are the tunes lovely, but the meaning of the psalms are very touching. I saw this line: "How can I repay unto Gd all Gd's bountiful dealings toward me?" - and I meditated on all the good fortune I have right now. I'm in a beautiful place, learning, and engaged to be married to my bashert. My family and friends are all in good health, and I'm so lucky to be here at this very moment. The singing and the meditating on the goodness in my life made me very teary. I was in this space of happiness, and it was so great.

After Hallel, Emet was called to the Torah for her first aliyah. She had practiced a lot with me the week before, and I know she was nervous. A few of our friends came to shul to support her. She did so wonderfully! I was and still am so proud. She sang the blessings perfectly! I know she was very touched by going up to the Torah and was emotional afterward.

This Shabbat seemed to be a culmination of everything lately - learning, love, friendship, and community. I know both Emet and I felt how special it was to have Shabbat here in Jerusalem with the Pardes community, and overall, I just feel that this past Shabbat could not have been better.

Crossposted at Two Frum Queers

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