Music & audio © Alexander Massey, 23 March 2014
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In Jewish life, we take joy seriously! We are reminded that, on Shabbat especially, we should be joyful, prompted by the verse from Isaiah 58:13 – “and call the Sabbath a delight [oneg]”. The weekly Friday evening celebrations can include food, prayers, music, stories, dancing, and general all round fun. On Shabbat, we remember God rested after 6 days of the work of Creation, so we, too, rest; we mark the symbolic liberation from Egypt (Mitzrayim – whatever constricts us or weighs us down); and we orient our minds and hearts to gratitude, spending time with family and friends, encouraging an atmosphere of shalom/harmony in our homes and communities to restore a sense of the Garden of Eden. We remind ourselves of the vision that we want to work towards. The appropriate state of heart and mind for that is oneg – joy. Just for fun, the time signature of this nigun is 5/8, echoing that the idea of Sabbath oneg comes from chapter 58 of Isaiah!