Nearly Perfect

Shoshana Berger ‘19

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I will not be the first to deny that the Ma’ayanot school-wide Shabbaton that happened a few weeks ago was an incredible experience. The trips, the hotel, the learning! It was nearly perfect. And when I say nearly, I mean 99.5 percent perfect. What kept it from being 100 percent perfect, for me at least, was Havdalah. From what I understand, Havdalah is supposed to be a respectful and beautiful way of saying goodbye to Shabbos. Some say that we smell the bisamim in order to comfort ourselves because Shabbos is leaving.
Here’s what happened at Shabbaton. (I’m sure most schools do this, maybe NCSY does this. I’m not really sure.) At Shabbaton Havdalah there were rainbow lights and a band playing music. This made me feel as though we were celebrating that Shabbos was over. Now I know that wasn’t the intention at all, but that’s how it felt to me. I think it would be magical to have everyone in a circle singing; if anything, only one acoustic guitar and no lights whatsoever. Just the candle, one source of light lighting up the whole room. I feel that would be the perfect balance between celebrating the amazing Shabbos we shared and recognizing that we don’t want it to end, by not diving headfirst into very non-Shabbos activities, like playing electric guitars and having disco lights. I understand the appeal of all those things; I just feel that they are inappropriate for Havdalah. Having said all that, Shabbaton being 99.5 percent perfect is pretty impressive.

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Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School
Nearly Perfect