Day 19 & 20 - Free Weekend (Netzach)
It was another classic wake up on IST - 6:30am rise for the busy day ahead. With much excitement, I packed my bags and joined my friends for the final breakfast and davening of the week together. We were then off to our respective hosts for our free weekend.
Liora Tuch and I had chosen to go and stay at old madrichim in the holy city of Jerusalem. We arrived and allowed ourselves time to catch up with them before we set on our adventures through the Machane Yehuda Shuk.
On our way up to the Shuk we were approached by a Jewish man who insisted that we take these delicately prepared Shabbas packs. Enclosed in these packs were: the candle lighting blessings, tea lights, books and a few yummy treats. He gave us these packs ensuring more Jews would fulfil the mitzvah of the lighting of the candles and told us that all of our wishes will come true. We were then able to use these on Shabbas eve, making the start to our Shabbas even more meaningful and unique.
We then entered the picture perfect Shuk. It was exactly as I remembered. The strip was overflowing with a wide range of people from all walks of life - flowing in from every direction and dragging handfuls of parcels. We walked past the classic stalls where lollies and dried fruits were out on display. The smell and aroma throughout the Shuk was amazing as we could smell the various spices, which surrounded us. Walking through the vibrant Shuk we could feel a sense of chaos as Shabbas came close. Everyone was walking on top of one another and dragging their trolleys behind them as they trembled over our toes. It was beautiful to see how every person there was being careful to pick the most beautiful things to enhance their Shabbas and make their meals and tables as beautiful as possible. Furthermore, it gave me a new sense of appreciation for Shabbas and how each week we must take the time to prepare for it and treat it with respect and love. As Shabbas approached, Liora and I had to also make our way home to help prepare for Shabbas.
After assisting in the Shabbas preparation we brought in Shabbat and made our way to Shule where we took part in a meaningful Kabbalat Shabbat service. We then returned back home for a nice relaxing dinner, then ending off our day with a much needed sleep.
This Shabbat was truly unforgettable and I loved catching up with my old madrichim. It was such a special way to spend my free weekend.