No matter what time I light candles on a Friday night, I know I'm good for a nap within 30 minutes. It seems the weight of the week knocks me out about then, and a little rest is good before my husband comes home and announces the start of the meal.
I wasn't always like this. Until my dearest friend and upstairs neighbor Sara was forced to move, Friday nights meant going over the Torah portion of the week. We took turns going to each other's house with one or the other presenting Torah thoughts in a "nutshell." Since April, discussing the Torah portion has turned into a Friday afternoon ritual with Sara over the phone. Not that I'm complaining. Now that we're miles apart, this compromise keeps us connected.
Then there's the davening, or prayers Saturday morning in Shul. It's sheer happiness for me every Saturday morning to see the Rebbetzin and all the women I'm rarely in contact with during the week. Before kiddish, the women gather to hear one of us give a shuir, a D'var Torah. Every woman who wants to has an opportunity to speak. Scholarship is not a requirement.
I spend the rest of the day saying the Book of Tehillim in the merit of my dear brother, Hershel Yaakov ben Masha, who is not well. This is my peace. This is my Shalom. Thank you Creator, for giving me this gift of Shabbat, of family, friends, and prayer.