This Erev Shabbat (Friday Night), we had a Visitor. Our Visitor is always with us, but we feel the Nursing Mother more fully on the Shabbat. Friday was nuts. Every Friday is, with getting everything ready to eat for Friday evening through Saturday evening so that we can sit back and enjoy, and not have any “shoulds” or “musts” for a day. Camping and hauling water up the hill and no electricity (coming this week!!!) and showering & doing laundry 15 miles away, and grocerying 45 minutes away further complicates things.
This Friday was just a bit more exciting, with a weather forecast calling for a severe thunderstorm. As we raced to get everything cooked & cleaned & set for dinner, we kept checking in with the satellite on S’s “smart” phone that he got to make the business transition run more smoothly. In the midst of all of this, the generator died. Kaput. No immediate method of charging the batteries which run everything electronic (including this computer, which only got its charge today, at the Y while the kids were showering while I was studying for a driver’s exam, which I passed fine,but the “guilty-till-proven-innocent” thing since 9-11 means I have to wait another month ’till more documentation that I’m who I say I am, and not a unibomber, can be unearthed from yet another State agency.)
With the generator dead, but Stephen’s cell battery still operational, we watched as we worked. the purple spot in the middle of the red, yellow, and green rings of the storm was headed straight for us. We “battened down the hatches” and willed the dinner to cook faster (it did not). We watched the storm get closer and closer, and… that purple spot went away… then the red spot got smaller… and disappeared. The light drizzle we experienced didn’t even blow in under the shelter of the Shabbat Tent. We dined in peace. Our Defender had reduced the storm to a benign bit of atmosphere.
After dinner, the camp fire we’d built prior to sunset hadn’t even faded. We all sat around it and sang One Day (Matisyahu’s Aikon version), and Hinei Mah Tov (How good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity), and a few others. We sat, looking across the camp fire at the Shabbat Tent, with the candles still lit & burning beautifully on the table. Stephen took several pictures of it on that phone with the battery which had not yet died. We honor those who choose not to “create” anything on the Shabbat, and so do not take photos. We also do take photos on the Shabbat ourselves, as a means of celebrating what already does exist. One picture came out differently from the rest. There was a beam of light (a stray moonbeam that made it through the clouds, maybe?) directly on the Shabbat Tent.
The masculine side of the Almighty we celebrate and emulate all week long, working to cause to exist all that we need in the first six days. On the Shabbat, we celebrate the feminine side of the Almighty. She reminds us to be thankful and enjoy what already does exist, remembering the day when She said, “It is very good.” Shechinah, the word for the “Glory” of God, is a feminine word. It’s the word used to describe the “Divine Presence” that came into the Tent of Meeting. The first letter in that Name is the Shin, which is a picture of the two front teeth, a picture of biting, tearing, and defending.We are thankful for that defense this Erev Shabbat, and on innumerable other occasions as well.
Our love goes out to the friends and family we left in a smoke-filled valley out West. We thank you so much for all of your support and work and love that helped to bring us out here in time to escape the smoke. May the One who Causes to Exist, Who Defends that which already exists deal kindly with you!
I’m wondering whether the One who gives the moon its reflective beauty may have given us that bit of light to remind us of the Divine Presence that is especially with us on the Shabbat.
May our Tents continue to shine… more on that in a previous blog: Tents of Aloe