Throughout Jewish history, the Sabbath meal has been a time when families and loved ones come together to spend some quality time together. A commentary on the Torah suggests that Abraham and Sarah, the first Jews, welcomed guests into their tent every Sabbath, demonstrating the lovingkindness they became known for. Since those very first Jews, it has been a customary to gather together with close friends and family on the Sabbath.
One traditional way of connecting with loved ones is for parents to bless their children. This is usually done at the dinner table, but in many families the custom continues long after the children have left the house, via telephone, email, or Skype. There is a traditional Hebrew text for the blessings, but some families say the blessing in English, or use their own blessings, different ones for each child. The first part of the traditional blessing connects the child to a long line of Jewish heroes and heroines with characteristics worth emulating. The second part of the blessing asks for more general guidance from God. Rabbi Aharon Berakhia of Modena, one of the great kabbalists of the 17th century, wrote, "The custom of blessing one's children on the holy Sabbath is the essence of the Sabbath Queen, and the essence of the ‘extra soul’ we receive on the Sabbath. For the blessings fall upon the one giving the blessing, as well as the one receiving it."
Friendships can also be strengthened by a Sabbath connection. Gather your friends for a relaxing unplugged meal, and you'll be amazed at how the conversation will flow. Instead of going out to do something, stay in and appreciate each other's company.
The Sabbath is also a great time for romance. Take away the business and distractions of everyday life, and you're left with a nice long evening for, well, whatever you're into. There's even a tradition of having sex on the Sabbath because it adds to the oneg Shabbat, the enjoyment of the Sabbath. You already have the candles and the wine, sit back, relax, and get sexy!
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