We’re dedicating new Siddurim on the first day of Shavuot. In honor of this wonderful occasion, we’re using the counting of the Omer to learn about the siddur.
Enjoy today’s siddur related question and answer, which was provided by Nathan A..
Why is Shabbat called the Sabbath Bride?
The tradition started with the Jewish kabbalsits of Safed in the sixteenth century who would welcome Shabbat dressed in white as if they were escorting a bride to her groom.
Some reasons given for this:
“In Kabbalah, the Shekhinah is seen as the Feminine aspect of God, who is exiled from her lover, the male aspect of God, in the same way the Jews are exiled from their land, Israel. At around the 3rd century of the Common Era, the Shekhinah is viewed as a separate entity from God, and capable of influencing him. Often she defended humanity against harsh judgments from the Lord. But on Shabbat, a reunification happens. Peace fills the universe, and the Bride and Groom wed. All is whole, for a time. Shabbat, therefore, to the Jewish people, serves as a reminder not only of their exile, but of their eventual reunion in the Land of Israel. – Matthew Kessel, (https://www.matthewkressel.net/2015/09/12/36-days-of-judaic-myth-day-5-the-sabbath-bride/)
“It reflects the very powerful relationship between the Jewish People and the Sabbath (as the phrase goes, “more than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews”). The Torah says that Eve was created as a ‘helpmate’ for Adam, meaning that spouses are supposed to help their partners reach their greatest potentials. The Sabbath helps the Jews reach their greatest potential. – Shlomo Shulman (http://www.jewishanswers.org/ask-the-rabbi-2913/the-sabbath-as-a-bride)
From my perspective I like to think that the metaphor will evoke the feelings that I felt leading up to wedding, seeing my bride, and the difference it made in my life between being single and looking for someone and the comfort of having a life partner. In the same way the feeling of anticipating Shabbat should be similar to how we feel standing under the chuppah looking down the aisle to see our bride.
This interpretation now holds particularly relevance for me – in my family the first time I heard the “woman of valor” psalm read was while my sister was dying, then at her funeral, and then a week later at my grandmother’s funeral. When I was married I wanted to give it a positive context again in my family and begin reading the prayer to Debbie every Friday. For years I knew that the proverb was metaphorical and that the woman referenced was just the Shabbat.
past I knew that the psalm was a metaphor. Buts as I was conducting the research for this article I learned that that the connection is that it refers to the Shekkinah. So now it becomes full circle – I appreciate the Shabbat by reflecting on my wedding day and approaching the Shekkinah and then celebrate Shabbat with my wife by invoking the Shekkinah and comparing her to her