Shmita?

Posted: September 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

The vows I said at our wedding have been an important touchstone for me – when I start to lose my way, those vows have a way of raising their voices and reminding me.  This has meant I’ve done a great job at making the marriage a priority second only to God.  It has made me intentional.  It has pushed me really hard, when I am most tempted to retreat and hide amidst the threat of pain, to speak up and tell G the very things I am terrified, in those moments, will somehow make him lose respect and affection for me.  Though I’ve done it awkwardly a lot of the time, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot really right, in this first 13 months of marriage.

But I have to confess:  I haven’t done a very good job of learning how to be a *Jewish* wife.  The thing is, it’s all so FOREIGN to me.  I never knew anyone Jewish before G.  There is no such thing as Jewish people in the little rural county where I grew up.  The names of the feasts/holidays mostly sound like made-up babble sounds to me, you know?  In general, I am a fast learner.  Except I’m really NOT a fast learner, regarding all things Jewish.  I want to be.  But I’m not.  And even the things I’ve learned, I have trouble remembering to implement.  Take Shabbat, for instance – it is a given that every Friday night at sundown, we should be lighting candles, saying prayers, sharing wine/juice and bread – but I tend to mostly forget.  I don’t ignore it or put other things first – it just simply escapes my memory.  I suppose 48 years of “no Shabbat” is a habit that is hard to unlearn.

But his Jewish faith is an important part of who G is, which makes it important to me. I WANT to be a good Jewish wife.  Just because I’ve kind of failed that in year one doesn’t mean I can’t do it.  To that end, I’ve been reading and studying a bit more purposefully.  The next Jewish holiday coming up (sundown Sept 24 to sundown Sept 26) is Rosh Hashanah, which (as I understand it) is two days dedicated to self-examination and repentance, as part of the Jewish New Year (by Jewish reckoning, the current year is not 2014, but 5775).

In reading up on Rosh Hashanah, I came across the coolest thing – the Jewish new year that begins with this Rosh Hashanah is a “Shmita” year.  I’m still studying, but it looks like it boils down to this:  life runs in 7 year cycles – the first six are normal life and productivity, while the seventh year is different.  It is, in some senses, a year of Shabbat – that is, rest.  Farmers would not plant crops in the seventh year, but would let the land lie fallow.  Accordingly, food choices would be different in that time.  It looks to me like it’s about a lot more than just food, though.

I’m going to look at it closer, in the coming year (and G is looking, with me.)  I suspect this means we won’t *do* the Shmita “correctly,” since we’ll be learning about it all year.  But a look now means G and I can approach the NEXT 7 years with an eye toward the coming Shmita that will begin in 2021.  I suspect that really understanding what we are moving toward will affect our decisions throughout the six years leading to it.  Meanwhile, I figure we can allow ourselves grace, as we learn.  After all, Jewish kids grow up hearing and learning this stuff from the beginning.  I’m brand-spankin’ new to it all, and G is only about 11 years into it, having returned to his Jewish roots only a couple of years after he first encountered/gave his life to Christ.  We’re making up for lost time, eh?

I’ll be sharing along the way.  Just in case you’re interested!

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Comments
  1. Cindy Maynard says:

    Please share. I am intrigued and find this fascinating!!

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