[Editor’s Note: I wrote this meditation years ago when I was a member of the Shabbat Committee at Temple B’nai Or in Morristown, N.J. It is meant to be read before L’cha Dodi at Friday evening services.]
Open my heart tonight to welcome Shabbat
in the natural way I did as a child—open, unquestioning, believing.
Leaning against my father,
Shabbat melodies became mine
as the fringes of his tallis slipped through my fingers again and again.
The mixed joys of hugs and handshakes crushing, yet reassuring,
hot tea, the peace of Friday nights.
Let me capture those lost Shabbatot,
their message of belonging.
I give thanks for the friends I see here tonight,
they pull me to community;
they help me to remember.
In their presence I understand the words.
Their meaning becomes part of the Shabbat in me.
“Beloved, come to meet the bride; beloved, come to greet Shabbat.”