my_torah: (Default)
[personal profile] my_torah

My starting point was the question

“Why do we lift up our hands to the light when we say the blessing “Borei More Ha’aish” (who creates the lights of the fire).

My investigation of this question not only answered the original question but has led me into a deeper and I think fascinating understanding of the Jewish customs and practices of Havdallah, and also perhaps, of Shabbat and Friday night.

This is a relatively long article for my Torah blog, but if it succeeds in explaining to you what all the customs of Shabbat are about, isn’t it worth persisting and reading to the end?

I have quoted some Midrashim to form a flow of ideas and to propose a thesis for the origins of Shabbat & Havdallah customs. However I would not want to give the impression that there are not other contrary Midrashim. For every question there will be a plethora of Midrashic answers. The “truth” in Midrash is like the lights of the Havdallah candle - many lights forming a flickering fiery flame.

The First Light
First let us start at the very beginning:
The creation of Light on the first day of creation.

Sceptics about the Biblical creation story often pose the question:
“How could Light and Darkness, Day and Night have been created on the 1st day when the sun and moon are not created until the 4th day?”

The Rabbinic answer (dating back thousands of years) is that we are talking on the first day of creation about a wholly different type of “Light”:

Genesis Rabba XI 2.

6. It was taught : The light which was created in the six
days of Creation cannot illumine by day, because it would
eclipse the light of the sun, nor by night, because it was
created only to illumine by day. Then where is it? It is
stored up for the righteous in the Messianic future, as it
says, “Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light
of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the
light of the seven days” (Isa. xxx, 26)

With the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden there was a consequent diminishing of this primordial light. The light of the first day was “hidden away” for the “Olam HaBa” (the world to come) and the righteous will enjoy it.

Next there is the question of a curious act of chesed (kindness) by God to the first Man and Woman. At the end of the decree of punishment of Adam and Eve for disobeying the first mitzvah, and eating the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden, the Torah says:

כא וַיַּעַשׂ יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים לְאָדָם וּלְאִשְׁתּוֹ, כָּתְנוֹת עוֹר--וַיַּלְבִּשֵׁם. {פ} 21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them.

There are a number of oddities about this verse.
It seems slightly unexpected – an act of love at the end of God’s passing judgement on them.
The words “garments of skins” “kotnot or” are very specific. It could have just said “begadim” (clothes).

If they were of skin, where did the skin come from?
We imagine the Garden of Eden as being a place without slaughter of animals.
The midrashim offer several suggestions: it was made of the skin shed by the snake, it was from the skin of the Leviathan (that we know from another Midrash God slaughtered near the beginning of creation). It was made of wool (ie not actual skin but that which grows from the skin). And most ingenious and curious of all: before that Adam and Eve did not have skin they were covered with a fingernail like covering that shone with beams of light (like the Moses face after the giving of the Torah) and after they sinned they lost that, so God gave them skin instead as at this day, leaving the fingernails and toenails peeping out as a reminder of the original covering.

Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer
“What was the dress of the first man ? A skin of nail,
and a cloud of glory covered him. When he ate of the fruits “
of the tree, the nail-skin was stripped off him,' and the cloud of glory departed from him, and he saw himself naked”

* The dress of Adam and Eve was, according to the Pal. Targum,
Gen. iii. 7, "onyx-coloured " ; cf. Gc-n. Rab. xx. 12 The legend of an
original skin of nail is preserved in the custom which still obtains
among orthodox Jews, who gaze at their nails with the Habdalah
light at the termination of the Sabbath.

And why did they need added clothing – given they had sewed themselves girdles (hagoroth) out of fig leaves? We know that Adam hid because he still felt naked in his fig leave kilt.

It feels to me like a transition from a warm sunny paradise where grass-skirts suffice to the cold harsh world outside.

There is a halachic reason explained in the Midrash too for why we hold our hands up to the Havdallah candle before we make the blessing (which is an unusual sequence as normally the blessing is said before enjoying the “fruit”):

Genesis Rabba XI
And God saw the light. R. Ze'ira, the son of R.
Abbahu, lectured in Caesarea 5 : Whence do we know that
you must not recite a blessing over a lamp until you have enjoyed (ie benefitted from) its light? From this: “And he saw the light... and
he pronounced a division”. 6 R. Judah b. R. Simon
said : He [God] set it apart for Himself. 7 Our Rabbis said :
He set it apart for the righteous for the future, just like
a king who had a goodly portion [served to him at table],
but set it aside for his son.

The halachic approach would seem to be that we hold up our finger to the flame in order to derive a use from its light. That use is to distinguish one shade (that of the finger nail) from another eg the skin – or alternatively to see he difference of the shaded area on the palm from the lit area of the palm.

It’s all about the Garden of Eden

To better understand Havdallah and its significance, however, we need to examine the Chronology of the Garden of Eden story:

From the text of the Torah, the timing seems to be:
• Adam and Eve are created late on Friday after all the other animals.
• They eat of the tree on Fri afternoon before Shabbat.
• They make girdles of fig leaves – but still felt naked.
• God confronts Adam towards dusk of Friday “at the breeze of the day”
• God makes coats of skin for Adam and Eve.
• He expels them from the Garden of Eden.

So one view (which Clive Lawton proposed) could be that they were expelled from Eden on erev Shabbat and we are still living in the final moments of the eve of the 7th day – awaiting the day (the world to come) which will be entirely Shabbat!

The classical Midrashim mostly take a different view that God, in an act of clemency, allowed the first couple to remain for Shabbat in Eden. Shabbat is a “taste of Olam HaBah (the world to come)” which is also associated with Gan Eden (The Garden of Eden) so it feels fitting that their first Shabbat should have been spent in The Garden of Eden, rather than in their having just been expelled from it.

Also the Midrash suggests that primeval light of Eden stayed lit for them on Friday night and continued throughout Shabbat, only vanishing at the end of Shabbat when for the first time Man saw darkness fall upon the world. So Shabbat is strongly associated with both Light and the World to Come.

Yet, Adam had lost his lustre:

"He (Adam, the first Man) was of extreme beauty and sun like brightness" (B. B. 58a).[2]
"His skin was a bright garment, shining like his nails; when he sinned this brightness vanished, and he appeared naked" (Targum Yerushalmi aka Targum Yonatan. Gen. iii. 7; Genesis Rabba xi.).

Adam and Eve were thus expelled from the garden of Eden on motzei Shabbat (at the end of Shabbat) at Havdallah time.

Man was afraid when the world began to get dark that the snake might bite him, but says the Midrash, God made him a pillar of fire – or in another version God made him find 2 flints and by striking them together he lit a fire.

Fire was thus created for the first time at Havdallah time after the creation.
So at Havdallah time we are exiting Shabbat into the working week and recalling the expulsion from Eden into the world of work.

It is also notable that apparently Man makes our Havdallah blessings for the first time at Havdallah, over the fire and over the distinction of holy from work-a-day.

Consider the following Midrash:
Genesis Rabba XI 2.

The Rabbis were suggesting ways in which “God blessed the Shabbat day and made it holy”:
“He blessed it with the light of a man's face : the light of a man's face during the week is not the same as it is on the Sabbath”
He blessed it in respect of the sun and moon. R. Simeon b.
Judah said: Though the sun and moon were “spoilt”1 on the
eve of the Sabbath, yet they were not smitten until the
end of the Sabbath. This agrees with the Rabbis
but not with R. Assi, 2 who maintained: Adam's glory
did not stay the night with him. 3 What is the proof?
But Adam passeth not the night in glory (Ps. xlix, 13). 4
The Rabbis maintain: His glory abode with him, but at
the termination of the Sabbath He deprived him of his
splendour 5 and expelled him from the Garden of Eden,
as it is written, Thou changest his countenance, and sendest
him away (Job xiv, 20). As soon as the sun set on the night
of the Sabbath, the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to
hide the light, but He showed honour to the Sabbath;
hence it is written, And God blessed the seventh
day: wherewith did He bless it? With light.

When the sun set on the night of the Sabbath (ie Fri night), the light continued
to function, 6 whereupon all began praising, as it is written,
Under the whole heaven they sing praises to Him (ib. xxxvii,
3) 7 ; wherefore? Because His light [reaches] unto the ends
of the earth (ib.). 8 R. Levi said in the name of the son of
Nezirah: That light functioned thirty-six hours, 9 twelve
on the eve of the Sabbath [i.e. Friday], twelve during the
night of the Sabbath, and twelve on the Sabbath [day].
When the sun sank at the termination of the Sabbath,
darkness began to set in. Adam was terrified, [thinking,]
Surely indeed the darkness shall bruise me
(Ps. cxxxix, 11): shall he of whom it was written, He shall
bruise thy head (Gen. in, 15), now come to attack me!
What did the Lord do for him? He made him find two
flints which he struck against each other; light came forth
and he uttered a blessing over it; hence it is written, But
the night was light about me — ba'adeni (Ps. loc. cit.), i.e.
the night was light in my Eden (be'edni). 1 This agrees with
Samuel, for Samuel said : Why do we recite a blessing over
a lamp [fire] at the termination of the Sabbath ? Because
it was then created for the first time.

1 Through Adam's sin it was decreed that the primeval light should be
hidden. Var. lee: cursed.

2 More correctly: R. Jose.

3 I.e. the primeval light, which was smitten immediately he sinned,
before the Sabbath.

4 E.V. 'But man abideth not in honour .

5 By hiding the primeval light. Others : He deprived Adam's countenance
of its lustre. 6 At night — this primeval light is meant.

12. And the Lord God made for Adam and
his wife garments of skin, and clothed
them (in, 21). In R. Meir's Torah it was found written,
' Garments of light (there is a pun here on the word “ ’OR” with an Ayin meaning skin and “OR” with an Aleph meaning light) ' 2 : this refers to Adam's garments,
which were like a torch [shedding radiance], broad at the
bottom (of the beam of light) and narrow at the top. Isaac the Elder said : They
were as smooth as a finger-nail and as beautiful as a jewel.

The classical commentators interpret the phrase “kotnot or” by utilizing rabbinic extrapolations. The Aramaic translation (targum) of Onkelos explains: "garments of glory on their skin." Rashi, based on midrashic sources, remarks that these clothes were smooth like a fingernail or scale, and shone like a jewel. That explains kotnot. Or is explained by Rashi as something that derives from skin, like the fur of rabbits, which is warm and soft. The skin for these garments is variously understood as coming from the skin shed by the sly serpent who seduced Eve (Aramaic Targum of Yonatan Ben Uziel), or from the Leviathan that God slaughtered, salted, and left for the righteous in the World to Come (Hizkuni). Ibn Ezra has an interesting formulation that blends several ideas. He writes that some explain that in the beginning man was made of bone and flesh, and now God made for them a covering of skin.
(Jewish Quarterly)

There is another complication. There is a midrashic source which claims that Adam was not created naked. "What was the clothing of Adam: scaly skin and the Cloud of Glory covering him. When he [Adam] ate from the fruits of the Tree [of Knowledge], the scaly skin came off and he saw himself naked, and the Cloud of Glory disappeared." So the verse: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked (Gen. 3:7), means that they were denuded of the clothing that was already upon them.

So it seems to me that the viewing the light reflected in the fingernails of the hand at Havdallah reminds us of the “scaly skin” Adam and Eve were clothed in before they sinned and ate the forbidden fruit. Perhaps the midrash is suggesting we have a little of that scaly skin left in our finger and toe nails?
Or another way to view it might be that before they sinned they were clothed in scaly stuff and light – then after the sin the light departed and so God clothed them in a clothing of skin (not animal skins, as often read, but literally in our skin) but the fingernails poke through the skin and that again is a reminder of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden which took place at the going out of the first Shabbat.

Or that the original skin of Adam and Eve was, as the quote from Targum Yerushalmi has it, “a bright garment, shining like his nails” – so by looking at the light of the fire of the Havdallah candle reflected in our finger nails, we remember that first covering, now lost, of Adam HaRishon – and link it with the creation of fire at the first Havdallah after the first Shabbat.

It seems that Havdallah is intimately connected through the Midrashic understanding of the text to the moment of expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer a very old Midrashic commentary attributed to the teacher of Rabbi Akiva mentions:
• The blessing "Bore me'ore ha-esh" (Praised be the Creator of the fire) recited during the Havdalah (ch. xx.; comp. Pes 59a).
• Contemplation of the finger-nails during this blessing (ch. xx.).
• After the Havdalah, pouring of the wine upon the table, extinguishing the candle in it, dipping the hands in it, and rubbing the eyes (ch. xx.)

At twilight on Saturday (evening), Adam was meditating in his heart
and saying : Perhaps the serpent, which
deceived me, will come in the evening, and he will bruise
me in the heel. A pillar of fire was sent to him to give
illumination about him and to guard him from all evil."
Adam saw the pillar of fire and rejoiced in his heart, and
he put forth his hands to the light of the fire, and said :
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe,
who creates the flames of fire.

The symbolic connection of Havdallah to the Midrashim about the Garden of Eden are brought out by the following halachot:

Rabbi Mana said : How must a man say the Habdalah blessing ?
(He does this) over the cup of wine,
with the light of fire, and he says : Blessed art Thou, O
Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the various
flames of fire ; and when he removes his hand from the fire
(flame) he says : Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who divides
the holy from the profane.

If he have no wine he puts forth his hands towards the
light of the lamp and looks at his nails, which are whiter
than his body, and he says : Blessed art Thou, O Lord our
God, King of the universe, who creates various flames of fire ;
and when he has removed his hands from the fire, he says :
“Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who divides the holy from the profane.”
If he be on a journey, he puts forth his hand - to the
light of the stars, which are also fire, and says : Blessed
art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates
the various flames of fire. If the heavens be darkened,*
he lifts up a stone outside, and says : Blessed art Thou,
O Lord our God, who creates the various flames of fire."

Chapter 14 of Pirke d’Rabbi Eliezer

עשרה ירידות ירד הב"ה על הארץ ואלו הן אחת בגן עדן ואחת בדור הפלגה ואחת בסדום ואחת בסנה ואחת במצרים ואחת בסיני ואחת בנקרת הצור ושנים באהל מועד ואחת לעתיד לבא אחת בגן עדן מניין שנ' וישמעו את קול ה' אלהים מתהלך בגן וכתיב דודי ירד לגנו לערוגת הבושם ישב בדין ושפט בדין אמר לו מפני מה את ברחת מלפני אמר את קולך שמעתי בגן ואירא כי ערום אנכי ואחבא מה היה לבושו של אדם הראשון עור צפורן וענן כבוד המכסה עליו וכיון שאכל מפירות האילן נפשט עורו וצפורן מעליו ונסתלקה ענן כבוד מעליו וראה עצמו ערום שנ' ויאמר מי הגיד לך כי ערום אתה אמר אדם לפני הב"ה רבון כל העולמים כשהייתי לבדי לא חטאתי לך אלא שהאשה שהבאת אצלי היא הדיחה אותי מדרכיך שנ' האשה אשר נתת עמדי וכו' קרא הב"ה לאשה ואמ' לה לא דייך שחטאת את עצמך אלא שחטאת את אדם אמרה לפניו רבון כל העולמים הנחש הסיח דעתי לחטא לפניך שנ' הנחש השיאני ואוכל והביא שלשתן ונתן עליהם גזר דין מתשעה קללות ומות והפיל את סמאל ואת כת שלו ממקום קדושתן מן השמים וקצץ רגליו של נחש ופקד עליו להיות מפשיט את עורו ומצטער אחת לשבעה שנים בעצבון גדול ואררו שיהיה שואף במיעיו ומזונו נתהפך במיעיו לעפר ומרורת פתנים מות בפיהו תתן שנאה בינו לבין בני האשה שהיו רוצצין את ראשו ואחר ממנו המות ונתן לאשה מתשע קללות ומות ענוי לידה וענוי דם בתולים וענוי הריון וענוי גדול בנים ומכסה את ראשה כאבל ואינה מגלחת אותה כי אם בזנות ורצע את אזנה כעבד עולם וכשפחה משרתת בעלה ואינה נאמנת בעדות ואחר כל אלו מות והוציא דומיס לאדם מט' קללות ומות וקצר כחו וקצר קומתו טומאת הזב טומאת הקרי טומאת תשמיש המטה זורע חטים וקוצר קוצים ומאכלו בעשב הארץ כבהמה לחמו בדאבה מזונותיו בזיע ואחר כל אלו מות אם אדם חטא מה חטא ארץ שנאררה אלא על שלא הגיד את מעשיה לפיכך נאררה ובשעה שבני אדם חוטאין בעבירות הקלות הוא מכה פירותיה של ארץ בעבור בני אדם שנ' ארורה האדמה בעבורך:
מהדורה אחרת: פרק ארבעה עשר מהדורת ונציה 1544 עשר ירידות ירד הקב"ה על הארץ ואלו הן אחת בגן עדן. ואחת בדור הפלגה ואחת בסדום ואחת בסנה ואחת בסיני ושתים בנקרת הצור ושתים באהל מועד ואחת לעתיד לבא. אחת בגן עדן מנין שנ' וישמעו את קול יי' אלהים מתהלך בגן לרוח היום וכתוב אחד אומר דודי ירד לגנו. ישב לו בדין אמת שופט צדק ואמת קרא לאדם ואמר לו למה ברחת מפני אמר לפניו שמעך שמעתי ורעדו עצמותי שנ' את קולך שמעתי בגן ואירא כי ערום אנכי. מה היה לבושו של אדם הראשון עור של צפורן וענן כבוד מכוסה עליו כיון שאכל מפירות האילן נפשט עור צפורן מעליו וראה עצמו ערום ונסתלק ענן הכבוד מעליו שנאמר ויאמר מי הגיד לך כי ערום אתה המן העץ אשר צויתיך וגו' אמר אדם לפני הקב"ה רבון כל העולמי' כשהייתי לבדי שמא חטאתי לך אלא האשה שהבאת אצלי היא הדיחה אותי מדבריך שנ' האשה אשר נתת עמדי היא נתנה לי מן העץ ואוכל.
Chapter 20 of Pirke d’Rabbi Eliezer
ויגרש את האדם גורש ויצא מגן עדן וישב לו בהר המוריה ששער גן עדן סמוך להר המוריה משם לקחו ולשם החזירו במקום שנלקח שנאמ' ויקח אלהים את האדם מאי זה מקום לקחו ממקום בית המקדש שנאמר לעבוד את האדמה אשר לוּקח משם. רבי יהודה אומ' הקב"ה שמר שבת ראשון ואדם שמר אותו תחילה בתחתונים והיה יום השבת משמרו מכל רע ומנחמו מכל סרעפי לבו שנאמר ברב סרעפי בקרבי תנחומיך וגו'. רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר מן האילן שנחבאו שם תחתיו לקחו עלים ותפרו שנאמר ויתפרו עלי תאנה. רבי אליעזר אומ' מן העור שהפשיט הנחש עשה הקב"ה כתונת כבוד לאדם ולעזרו שנאמר ויעש יי' אלהים לאדם ולאשתו כתנות עור וילבישם. בין השמשות של שבת היה אדם ויושב ומהרהר בלבו ואומר אוי לי שמא יבא הנחש שהטעה אותי בערב שבת וישופני עקב נשתלח לו עמוד של אש להאיר לו ולשמרו מכל רע. ראה אדם לעמוד של אש ושמח בלבו ואמר עכשיו אני יודע שהמקום עמי ופשט ידיו לאור האש וברך מאורי האש. וכשהרחיק ידיו מהאש אמר אדם עכשיו אני יודע שנבדל יום הק' מיום החול שאין לבער אש בשבת אמר ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול. רבי מנא אומר כיצד חייב אדם לברך על כוס של יין לאור האש ואומר ברוך מאורי האש, וכשמחזיר ידו מן האש אומר ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול ואם אין לו יין פושט את ידיו לאור האש ומסתכל בצפרניו שהן לבנות מן הגוף ואומר ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול.וכיון שמרחיק ידו מן האש אומר ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול ואם אין לו אש פושט ידו לאור הכוכבים שהן של אש ויסתכל בצפרניו שהן לבנות מן הגוף ואומר ברוך מאורי האש ואם נתקדרו השמים תולה אבן מן הארץ ומבדיל ואומר ברוך המבדיל בין קודש לחול. רבי אליעזר אומר לאחר ששותה אד' כוס של הבדלה מצו' להטיל מעט מים בכוס של הבדלה ושותה כדי לחבב את המצווה ומה שישמר מן בכוס מן המים מעבירו על גבי עיניו למה משום שאמרו חכמים שיורי מצוה מעכבין את הפורענות. רבי צדוק אומר כל מי שאינו מבדיל על היין במוצאי שבתות או אינו שומע מן המבדילי' אינו רואה סימן ברכה לעולם וכל מי שהוא שומע מן המבדילי' או מבדיל על היין, הקדוש ברוך הוא קונה אותו לסגולתו שנאמר ואבדיל אתכם מן העמי' והייתם לי סגולה. באחד בשבת נכנס אדם במי גיחון העליון עד שהגיעו מים עד צוארו ונתענה שבעה שבתות ימי' עד שנעשה גופו כמן כברה. אמר אדם לפני הקב"ה רבון כל העולמים העבר נא חטאתי מעלי וקבל את תשובתי וילמדו כל הדורות שיש תשובה ואתה מקבל תשובת השבים. מה עשה הקב"ה פשט יד ימינו והעביר את חטאתו מעליו וקבל את תשובתו שנאמ' חטאתי אודיעך ועוני לא כסיתי סלה מן העולם הזה וסלה מן העולם הבא. ישב ודרש בלבו ואם כי אמרתי מות תשיבני ובית מועד לכל חי אמר אדם עד שאני בעולם אבנה לי בית מלון לרבצי חוץ להר המוריה וחצב ובנה לו מלון לרבצו. אמר אדם מה הלוחות שהן עתידין להכתב באצבעו של הקדוש ברוך הוא ועתידין מימי הירדן לברוח מפניהם וגופי שנבל בשתי ידיו ורוח נשמת פיו נפח באפי ואחר מותי יקחו אותי ואת עצמותי ויעשו להם עבודה זרה אלא אעמיק אני ארוני למטה מן המערה ולפנים מן המערה לפיכך נקראת מערת המכפלה שהיא כפולה ושם הוא נתון אדם וחוה* אברהם ושרה* יצחק ורבקה* יעקב ולאה* ולפיכך נקראת קרית ארבע שנקברו בה ארבע זוגות ועליהם הכתוב אומר יבא שלום ינוחו על משכבותם הולך נכחו.

Finally what was the fruit that Adam and Eve ate from in the Garden of Eden?
Many answers are suggeste: Fig, Apple, Tomato, the Etrog.
But one Midrashic answer is that it was a Grape vine. Eve ate of the fruit and pressed the grapes and made wine and gave of it to Adam.
This might provide a reason why we use wine to make Havdallah – another link to the Garden of Eden. It also explains the folk superstition that women should not drink the Havdallah wine as it could be a reminder of Eve’s “sin” and therefore unlucky, with dire consequences threatened such as growing a beard or, worse, infertility. (This practice is not necessarily the halachah - there are Rabbis who say or suggest that women may or should drink Havdallah wine. And it makes no rational sense either, since if that were the case a Man should not drink it either! Nevertheless it is interesting to note the possible origin of the custom).


What do we conclude from all this?

1. Havdallah is connected to the explusion from the Garden of Eden
2. The wine is connected to the tree Adam and Eve ate from.
3. Placing a few drops of wine on the eyes (some have this custom still) is perhaps symbolic of the fruit of the tree opening their eyes (a hint that this “sin” is not seen entirely negatively)
4. The fire is connected to the act of kindness by God to Adam when it got dark after the first Shabbat and to a reassurance that God is still with us as we leave Shabbat and enter the week.
5. Holding up the finger nails to the candle reminds us of Adam and Eve’s first shining clothing in the Garden of Eden and of how God lovingly clothed them on leaving that tropical paradise.
6. It is also a reminder of the First primordial Light of creation, now put away for the World to Come
7. Holding up the finger nails is also a halachic necessity to only make a blessing when we have a demonstrable benefit.
8. And the spices? They were added to the ceremony later
But I think there may be more:

Our use of wine on Friday night at Kiddush may be a remembrance of the eating of the fruit of the tree (here taken to be the vine).

The idea that a man and his wife should be together on Fri night may also be associated with the recollection of the “sin” of the Garden of Eden, which in Jewish tradition may not be such “sin” at all.

The lighting of Shabbat candles (often attributed to the religious sectarian strife with the Karaites) may actually be a recollection of the Midrash describing the continuation of the primordial Light of creation through Friday night and then Shabbat.

Light is the particular “blessing” of Shabbat which in turn is associated with the Garden of Eden... and with the World to Come.


“Shabbat has ended, like the first Shabbat,
Flame newly kindled, flying up higher
Remember the kindness of the first clothing
Fingernails glint in the lights of the fire.”

Jonathan Samuel, after Eleanor Farjeon
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


my_torah: (Default)

February 2017

    123 4

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 05:08 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios