Double Sabbaths

Friday, April 29, 2016
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tel Aviv District, Israel
It's such a blessing to have two Sabbaths in a row, two special days set apart by God so we can worship Him and not forget the freedom He has given us. Freedom from death and freedom to go and live a life in service to our God.

“‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation . You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings” (Leviticus‬ ‭23:3‬). “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it’ ”” (Leviticus‬ ‭23:6-8‬).

One unanticipated complication on our trip was the fact that a lot of places close down on the Sabbath and even more so on Holy Days. Tel Aviv is an increasing exception to this general rule and there is often something open. Some place to find a meal or a way to still get from one place to another.

The three drivers of the three cars headed to the airport to return our rentals on Thursday afternoon . Hundreds of balloons (I didn't really count) filled the ceiling of the airport entrance. A sign of families returning home to Israel after their Spring Holy Day travels. The trains weren't running until late after the weekly Sabbath which meant we couldn't reach a bus to get back to the hostel. The line for taxis was long, but took less time than we thought. The three of us embarked on the fastest, most reckless ride of our lives. His moves were smooth, seamless almost. That's only because he didn't hit anyone.

We arrived to our temporary home, prepared a fantastic meal together, ate, talked, recuperated, and rested. Our mornings were quiet and peaceful, spending time in our rooms or in the lounge on more comfortable chairs, trying to avoid being hit by the small children who thoroughly enjoyed their Sabbath "rest."

For next two days we held services with only those of us left. No guests could come this time so Steven and I shared prayer, song leading, and speaking duties. We fellowshipped as much as possible in anticipation of everyone leaving. Slowly they went. The first wave early Saturday evening before the hostel hosted a loud Mimouna party. This is a celebration at the end of the Passover season when it's OK to eat leaven again. A Moroccan Jewish celebration widely practiced by many in Israel, especially in a place like Tel Aviv. We skipped the party, opting instead to run for pizza. I say run because Steven and I actually ran (well, alright, it was a very brisk walk) to a pizza place and came back with piping hot boxes in our hands. By this time there were only eight of us left. Soon there were six as Amy and Jen left not long after dinner.

Steven and Danielle headed off to their apartment across town and we said goodbye to Alyssa very early the next morning. Only Bri was left from the adventurous group who excitedly joined us on this adventure, and she wasn't leaving till Monday morning.

It's always sad to see friends go, but we cherish the chance we had to get to know them all.
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2017-09-23