Sunday, February 12, 2006

Shabbat in Jerusalem

I thought it is time I should remark upon the holiest of days in the holiest of cities. Shabbat in Jerusalem is quite interesting. Some of you may think that Jew York City is insane with the Jewish population on Friday night. Well, I'm in Jew-rusalem. The streets are practically devoid of cars, which means that one can walk on the sidewalk with relatively no fear of being run-over... on the sidewalk (see my Signs you Live in Jerusalem post), even in the middle of the street is a popular place to walk on the Sabbath. Friday night at around 6 PM when services let out or after midnight when we left the tisch, there is a very interesting air about Jerusalem. It has a similar feeling to (lhavdil) Halloween in a gated community in America. There are people walking in groups, some big groups, some small groups, and some people alone. Instead of being dressed in costume, everyone is dressed in their finest. Finest for Israel anyway. There are no suits, not even a tie. The men are dressed in what is known as the "Ben-Gurion", short-sleeved shirts with some sort of long pants which could include slacks or even jeans. Sometimes they will even wear sandals or orange shoe-like things (I want to find a pair). Believe me, for Israel this is Shabbos-wear. Grooms wear less to their weddings, so I hear. Anyway, Emek Refaim is a veratible ghost-town (or "ghost valley" as the literal translation of Emek Refaim), with nothing stirring except for a solitary coffee shop (stirring... coffee shop... this gold is wasted on you). There is just something so beautiful about a day without cars, without honking, without yelling. It is quiet and is peaceful, Yom SheKulo Shabbat, a day that is completely restful, a day that is completely Shabbat which is the promise of the World to Come. It is on earth now.

About the______ Song at ______ The Sea
______ I should ______ mention
That the ______ Song has ______ an interesting
______ scribal feature ____in that it is in this
pattern found __ nowhere else __ in the Torah
______ of waves ______ like one would
find in ______ the ocean. ______ This is one of
______ the easiest ______ passages to
locate in ______ the Torah_____because of its unusual
______ formatting. ______ It is also read
with great ___fanfare and people__rise from their
______ seats during ______ its recitation,
and in an unusual __occurrence this _is call-and-
______ -response.

Enough, if you want to see it formatted, look at Exodus 15:1 cf. Hopefully it is formatted correctly in this brick-like wave-like pattern. If not, get a new Bible.

Tonight I went to a concert by David Zeller who has a very interesting story. I'm not going to repeat it because I'm tired, but you would do well to check out Rabbi Zeller's website at

Afterwards I, like Forest Gump, just decided to walk to nowheres in particular. I just started walking west on Yochanan Ben Zakkai for a couple of miles in my Shabbos finest (the Ben Gurion plus a sweater). I walked down a steep hill southward before deciding to go back.
A cab driver stopped me on the street during my walk back to ask me for directions. Only in Israel...

That is all for now as I feel really scattered and really tired.

Shavuah Tov,


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