Thursday, May 15, 2008

Frugal Friday: When I'm Not Frugal

If you watched the above video, you've probably figured out that the one thing I'm not frugal about is Shabbat, or the weekly Sabbath. All week long I plan and strive to save pennies on everything from toilet paper to bananas. However, when it comes to items I am purchasing for the Sabbath, I try to buy only the best. Why?

In Exodus 20, God says to "make the Sabbath holy." That can mean many things to different people, but one thing that I'm convinced of is that He wants us to make it special. This is something that my father taught me when I was growing up. I remember him saying, "Every penny you spend in preparation for the Sabbath increases your joy when Shabbat comes." So for Frugal Friday, I'm going to tell you what my family does for the Shabbat meal on Friday evening...however UNfrugal it may be!

1. Woman of the Home Lights the Candles

We buy "special" candles that are only used for Shabbat, and have special candlesticks for this purpose. I light the candles and then I say the traditional blessing, followed by another extemporaneous prayer of thanksgiving to God for providing and sustaining us throughout the week. Also we bless God for sending Yeshua the Messiah, the Light of the World!

2. We sing a song, and then my husband reads (or sings) Proverbs 31 to me.

I have to say that I used to feel embarrassed at this part; I mean, how can I live up to the Proverbs 31 woman? But now, I just bask in it because I feel my husband is speaking words of prophecy over my life, that I am in the process of becoming that "woman of valor." This is also traditionally when the father lays a blessing on the children, but we don't have any to do that for yet...but someday, God willing!

3. We bless God for the wine (or grape juice).

For this, we use special grape juice or sometimes even buy wine, which is a treat in our house! We bless God for Yeshua the Messiah, the True Vine.

4. We bless God for the bread.

In the blessing we are thanking God for His provision of our "daily bread," and also for giving us Yeshua the Messiah, the Bread of Life! Again, we use special challah bread that is not usually a frugal bread to buy or bake. However, this is a tradition that we simply won't do without! It's just not Shabbat in our house without that wonderful challah aroma in the air! By the way, my mother is an amazing challah-baker!

5. We eat! (Surprise, surprise)

This is the really unfrugal part, but it's the most joyful meal of the entire week. Throughout the week we think of ways to make our meal even more special. Usually my husband and I don't eat much meat throughout the week, except for ground chicken and occasionally kosher hot dogs, so on Shabbat we go all out! My husband is an amazing cook, thank God, and he usually makes matzah ball soup and some awesome beef, chicken, or fish. It's my job to do the veggies and the dessert. By the way, the women in my family say the food doesn't have calories on Shabbat, haha!

6. We thank God again.

Did you know in the Bible it's actually a commandment to pray AFTER you eat? I didn't know that until recently, but in Deuteronomy 8:10 God says, "When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you." (NASB)

7. We relax, sing songs, and enjoy each other's presence.

Shabbat is wonderful no matter if you are alone (with God) or with thousands. However, it's best celebrated with family, as portrayed in the above video. There's something awesome that happens when you have a wife praying over her family, a husband praising his wife in front of the children, and then the father pronouncing his blessing over his sons and daughters. I remember when I was 9 years old and my family celebrated our first Shabbat dinner. Right after dinner my sister and I said, "Daddy, can we please do this again next week?"

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken." Isaiah 58:13-14 (NIV)

To learn more about celebrating a Shabbat dinner in your home, see this site and this site.

Although we all have different traditions, there's probably at least one thing that each one of us is not frugal about? What about you? What is your "unfrugal" thing?

And for some (actually) frugal ideas, check out Biblical Womanhood.


Tara said...

I really enjoyed reading your post.. It sounds so exciting the way you look forward to celebrating the Sabbath. I think we can all take something away from honoring the Lord, and keeping the Sabbath day (and our lives) holy.. Thanks for sharing.. :)

Mom2fur said...

Isn't the best reason for being frugal that we save money where it doesn't count so we can spend it where it does? That's the big difference between frugal and cheap! Frugal to me is respectful and resourceful. Cheap is mean and hurtful and dishonest. So keep on doing the 'best' for your Shabbat--it is one way you show respect for God's blessing!

FLCATXOK said...

Jenny, We love that scene from Fiddler on the Roof! Like you we try to make Shabbat as special as possible. The most expensive meals of the week are Friday night and Saturday. We also have more dishes/courses for Sabbath then regular nights.

Alice said...

I just want to say ho much I enjoy your blog.

Thank you for a wonderful wisdom you share with your readers.

I love this scene from "Fiddler on the Roof"! It made me cry again.