A beautiful story is often told at weddings, which answers the question, what has G-d been doing since G-d completed the creation of the world? The answer is that G-d has been making matches. G-d makes these matches even before a child is conceived, and that when these souls unite in life, they form a single unit in every way, body and soul.
And yet, we have, as individuals, work to do in the world, and so we go out, and we return. Each return and reunification has the potential to be holy, to be grateful for one another, and for G-d’s blessing in our lives.
I tend to begin my day with more intention, more kavanah, than I end my day. At the end of the day I just want to come home and eat and rest and just be. But often, I walk in like a whirlwind, with all the thoughts and events of the day, impressions of others who I have interacted with still on my mind. My concerns, ideas, and thoughts sometimes linger, even unknowingly, and take over the precious time I have with my soul mate, the love of my life. My kavanah, my intention, is to bring our workday to an end, and create a reunification of gratitude, love and holiness.
The following ritual is an at-home ritual, at a kitchen counter, or dining table. Useful tools will be a cup with water and bowl to capture the water for handwashing, a small towel, plus a tea-light for each person with a foil 'boat' or a foil cupcake liner to put the tealight in. The tealight will float on the water in the bowl at the end of the ritual. This can also be incorporated into a Friday night Shabbat ritual.
With evening comes the end of our workday, and the need for true rest. Let us acknowledge with handwashing, the work we have done, the lives we have touched, and open our hands to renewal and to one another as we share this time together.
Barukh Atah Adonay Eloheynu Melekh ha'olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al netilat yadaim.
Blessed are You, Source of Blessing, Our G-d, Sovereign of the world, who makes us holy through G-d’s commandments and commands us concerning washing the hands.
(Wash hands and let the water from the ritual handwashing collect in the bowl.)
In the Jewish tradition, our ‘day’ actually begins at sundown, so as evening arrives and we arrive home, our new day is actually beginning. Our liturgy includes a beautiful blessing for evening, which we may say in gratitude not only for evening, but for the day itself, all of G-d’s creation, light and dark, the sun the moon and the stars, and even time, in which our seasons and each day unfolds:
Barukh Atah Adonay, Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam, asher bi’dvaro ma’ariv aravim.
Blessed are You, Source of Blessing, Our G-d, Sovereign of the world, who blends the evening light.
As we begin our evening and the beginning of a new day together, we take a candle and float it on the water.
(A small tea-light in a ‘boat’ of foil or a foil cupcake holder will hold the tea-light and allow it to float on the water.)
As we light the candle, may we consider that the soul is the candle of G-d, and as water provides nourishment and a place for the candle to float and be sustained, so may our home be blessed and provide our souls and our bodies with rest, peace and togetherness.