The Jewish Spirit Journal
A Journal of Jewish Mysticism and Spirituality
Vol. 1, No. 4 Dec. 1999



In the hasidic court of Belz they ate, at the meal on the day of Shabbat, four traditional foods according to the four letters of the divine name: egg with onions, cholent, kugel, meat (Yud-gimel Orot, vol.2, p.235). Even if these are not your traditional foods, one can devise another four courses to represent the four letters of the Name.

Rebbe Shalom of Belz was by nature stern and easily irritable. So in order to break that character trait, he had a custom that whenever anyone did something against his will or disturbed him during his devotions, he laughed. (Yud-gimel Orot, vol.2, p.238)

Every Friday afternoon before Shabbat, the Rabbi of Brisk (in Israel), Rabbi Yitzhak Zev Soliveitchik, would go out onto his terrace, wearing his Shabbat clothes, with a serious and expectant look on his face. He would not do anything then, but just sit with concentration and wait. By this, he intended to fulfill the words of the Rambam (chapter 30 of Hilchot Shabbat, halacha 2): "[One should] sit with a sober demeanor and await Shabbat, just as one would go out and await a visit from the king." (Orchot Hasidecha, p.361) The early kabbalists in Sfat would greet the Sabbath Queen out in the open fields. Today, too, in the city, one can also go up on the roof of an apartment building to greet Shabbat.

The Rabbis give different examples in the Torah of God manifesting His Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. One example is His "clothing the naked" by making Adam and Eve clothes of skin (Genesis 3:21). This teaches us that when we put on our clothes, we can have the intention and awareness: "God is clothing me."

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Copyright 2004-2005, Yitzhak Buxbaum. All rights reserved.