Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Screw the yellow brick road.
Follow the candles.

This post has really helped me put Pesach (Passover) into perspective. I always dread all the work. It's far more work than anyone who isn't observant will ever realize. And once you've completed all your cleaning, then you have to go a week eatting nothing that isn't specifically Kosher for Pesach (and in my little corner of the world, that's not much).

In that post, though, she really made me change my focus. This year, I'll try my damnest to see it not as a chore, but as a connection to other Jews around the world and throughout history.

Her post has inspired my personal torah for this week. I've written about this before, but I'll do it yet again.

Candles brought me to more traditional Judaism. There are those who don't light Shabbat candles. There are those who light them only out of a sense of obligation or habit. And then there are those who light Shabbas candles because in that moment, they find magic and connection to something far deeper--to G-d, to their fellow man and to their history.

After only knowing the first two, I was blessed by the third type of person when I was about 20. I didn't yet have kids, but watching that, I thought of Bubbe in Germany. I remembered her stories of having to build a sukkah inside near a window one year because it wasn't safe to build one out in the open. I thought about how she nearly died because of Judaism and how she struggled in a new land, all the while maintaining her identity as a Jew. Her children were raised as Jews (albeit with a very different level of observance--Bubbe was raised Orthodox, but once her parents passed away, she joined a Reform shul). At that point, all her grandchildren had intermarried. So with our generation, Judaism would end for the family.

Any children we had would never know Shabbat. They would never light candles as their great grandmother did. They had every right to it, yet we didn't welcome Shabbat with candles (we didn't even acknowledge it), so they wouldn't either.

I did quite a bit of soul searching and from there, became more and more observant.

Our children are being raised to embrace Judaism, but so too am I. I made changes inspired by children not yet born, but in the end, it has made all the difference for me as well.


Rivster said...

Lighting Shabbos candles is such a great way to bring Judaism into the home on a very regular basis :) And you are giving such wonderful memories to your children!!!

Niki said...

I'm not Jewish but this was a moving post. I am so touched...

I, too, have made many changes in my religious observances for the sake of my child and I have found that I am growing spiritually myself.

How wonderful!