Day 40 - Shabbas & Eretz Bereshit
Shabbat is the centerpiece of Jewish life. It is derived from the root Shin-Beit-Tav, which translates into, "to cease, to end, to rest". This marks the end of the week, and the end of a chapter. Our highly anticipated Shabbat was slowly approaching.
All of IST, went together as one to go and experience our final Friday night Shabbat. I had mixed emotions as this was our most special one, yet the concluding Shabbat of our trip. We arrive at the Kotel and begin the service. We start signing the words of Y'did Nefesh and L'cha Dodi and suddenly we erupt into song and dance. In a blink of an eye, the voice of IST fills the area and reverberates off the wailing wall. This powerful and euphoric moment was definitely one of my highlights of any moment on IST. Needless to say that this was one of the most memorable and special Friday nights I've ever had.
After an uplifting service at the Kotel, we begin heading back to the hotel for dinner. The walk was about an hour, but time went by very quickly as we were all accompanied by our friends. Shabbat dinner had a great vibe. Whether it was connecting to Madrichim or laughing with friends, it was all so much fun. After dinner, both the Chanichim and Madrichim would perform in the Shtick.
The Shtick is essentially a mockery of the kids or mads, with personal jokes. First went the kids from bus 1, then bus 2. Everyone was in hysterics, but now it was the Mad's turn. There were some quality impersonations and jokes that were shared, which was mutually amusing.
Following the Shtick, it was time for our last Tish of IST. Everyone prepared the chairs and organised them into circles. Once everyone was seated, the lights were turned off and the Tish started. We started singing familiar songs and Nigguns. I always thoroughly enjoy Tishes however this one evoked a compelling feeling from within. The Tish also included many personal words from people who wanted to share a part of their experience on IST. This would finally conclude our final Tish of IST.
After a fairly solid sleep, I felt some what restored. I went down to the Shule for the Saturday service. It was a nice service which involved some ruach. Following the service, we would split into our family groups for one of our final Chaburot sessions. We discussed interesting and relevant topics.
Shabbat lunch was also a lot of fun. There was good food and company. After lunch we had free time until Seudah Shlishit. Some of my friends and I went to the soccer courts and played there which was so much fun. We came back just in time for Seudah.
The end of Shabbat was here. We would do Havdalah and Candle lighting for Chanukah. Rabbi Benji's powerful voice, created an amazing atmosphere for Havdalah. The entire group of IST were standing and singing in unison. This was an emotional way to finish our final Shabbat.
The night was soon about to change because it was New Years! Everyone was so pumped, and some more than others. We drove to an Eretz Bereshit and walked down the trail, to find a Bedouin tent waiting for us. We had a traditional meal with pita and hummus.
Our night hadn't even started yet... and then the music came on. We all partied and had an amazing time. We counted down until midnight and wished each other a Happy New Years. What a way to end off our last night on IST!