Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Scents of Shabbos and it’s Holy Sparks.

Something that I wrote when I was studying Aromatherapy

The Scents of Shabbos and it’s Holy Sparks.
Written by Rivka Sari    For Lesson 11 Tiferet Basic Aromatherapy


Shabbat dinner begins with kiddush, the blessing of the wine that sanctifies the Sabbath day.  I can smell the sweet wine being poured into my glass by guest or sibling that is sitting next to me.  As my Papa of blessed memory holds the goblet of wine I begin to imagine that it is the womb of the universe, the place of eternal creation. My Papa recite over it the biblical verses that tell the story of the making of the world from the sidur. Then all who are sharing the meal go to wash their hands, an act of ritual purification before the blessing over bread. For me, this is the stage of water of flowing together in fellowship, of lifting up our hearts as holy together as a family. I remember that G-d is called “makor mayim chayim” the source of living waters, the one who flows through all things. In the background I smell the matza ball soup mixed with the smell of dakah a spicy nut dish that make everything feel holy during the washing of hands. Washing is a way for me to feel as if my Shabbat table is a temple, because the priests in the Temple in Jerusalem washed before serving Hakodesh Barechu.  It is also a way for me to feel connected to the flow of life.

Then the challah, the special braided bread that honors women who prepare the home for Shabbos. My mother works tirelessly every week to make our home lovely and clean for Shabbos and she works so hard to the making of the best and most beautiful braided loaves of Challah. The smell of her sweet soft bread coming out of the oven just send me to another time and space. This is where shabbas really begins for me. From it’s sweet aroma I imagine that it honors and is the smell of the Shekhinah, keeper of life and death, and also the earth which gives us grain. We sprinkle the challah with salt before we eat it as a sign that it is holy, just as the holy sacrifices in the Temple were sprinkled with salt. The challah smell for me is the sign of the cycle of life—the harvested grain we need to keep ourselves separate and apart from the world and be alive in Torah and Mitzvos which is “the Bread of Life”. The bread of the Sabbos meal it’s smell reminds me that I eat through the sacrifice of life, and reminds me of my responsibility to make my life worthwhile. According to the teachings of Isaac Luria, when we eat consciously, we release the holy divine sparks within the food, within the physical substance of being, and allow them to fly upward. For me it’s not just the eating but the smells of Shabbos that releases those divine sparks that ascend upward to Hashem. The smelling of the ketoret is like all the the smells of Shabbos combined, thus when we end Shabbos with smell of spices for havdalla we end connected to the Divine Holiness of Hashem through the holy sense of our smell.
Smell is considered the loftiest and most transcendent sense....All other senses desire forbidden things while the nose remains ”holy"...Arizal connects the sense of smell to the month of Adar..."
Arizal connects the sense of smell to the month of Adar, the month that contains the holiday of Purim. The heroes of that holiday Purim were Mordechai and Esther, both of whom have a connection to scent. Esther’s real name was Hadassah, which means myrtle (a good smelling plant). And the Talmud relates the name Mordechai to Mor diror, which is musk (Bnei Yissaschar).  Together they were all the smells of  Gan Aden.
So to me Shabbos is the smell of the world to come and smells of year around holidays is just a preview of all the smells we will encounter at the Tree of Life in Jerusalem when Moshiach arrives to Rebuild our Beis HaMikdash. May it be soon in our days.