{Memories: A Time for Teshuva and a Time for Simcha.}

5775 is off to a great start! It’s been a very busy but meaningful and memory filled holiday season here at the Bobylev home!

Below is a collection of my favorite pictures from the last few weeks… it will be nice to look back and reflect on these one day. 🙂

elul

During Elul, we implemented a new tradition of blowing the shofar with the babies each night as apart of our bedtime routine.

roshhashana

We had a beautiful Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner… just us. 🙂

cards

I managed to send out New Year’s cards to close friends and family! I love writing letters.

tash1

We found a nice spot for tashlich in our neighborhood! Ori asked, “Where are the ducks???”

tash2

I held Noach the entire time because he was threatening to go for a swim!

yartzeit

Erev Yom Kippur was my grandmother of blessed memories’ 2nd yartzeit! It was an honor to remember her on such a holy day.

decorations

We had fun making sukkah decorations with some of our preschool friends!

ourSUKKAH

Our almost finished sukkah! This year we added lights, paper chains, and pictures of famous sages for inspiration!

dinner

Dinner in the sukkah with guests!

kohlet

Studying Kohelet on a rainy afternoon.

noe

Noach smelling our etrog.

noe2

…Followed by Noach trying to eat the etrog. {grin}

ori

Oriyah shaking the lulav in her very “stylish” new cowgirl boots.

sukkah

 Ori showing off her edible sukkah creation!

havdalah

 Havdalah and s’mores in the sukkah!

book

A Simcha Torah gift for the hubby… we are looking forward to reading it aloud together each week.

simchatorah

Simcha Torah candies! The kiddos loved these. Thank you pinterest!!!

Chag Sameach! I hope everyone was uplifted and inspired this High Holiday season!

Shalom,

Maayan

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{The Mitzvah of Challah – Part 1}

challah

The aroma and taste of homemade challah is unparalleled! Challah is the traditional braided bread that we eat on Shabbat and it’s unlike any other bread!

For example, say you have dinner at a friend’s house and you really enjoyed one of the dishes they served, so you ask for the recipe. You go home and try to make the recipe yourself but it doesn’t turn out the same. Likewise, no two challahs are the same! Even from week to week my challah tastes a little different!

Chassidus has a very interesting insight it to why this is. There are seven traditional ingredients in most challah recipes: water, yeast, egg, oil, sugar, salt, and flour. But there is also a special eighth ingredient… our souls. When we are making challah we are putting our souls and energy into it and it adds a dimension of spiritual nourishment. Who knew making bread could be a spiritual process?!?

The mitzvah of challah provides a weekly opportunity for reflection and a time of prayer for ones family.

 When making challah you add the ingredients in the order they are listed. Following this simple rule is a great reminder of how orderly Hashem is and how he orchestrates our lives.

 Water –

The first ingredient is water. Water is our lifeline – we can’t live without! Water is essential. Water represents Torah, which is our spiritual lifeline and essential to our well-being! Torah flows down to us from Hashem, just as water flows out of a faucet!

 When we add water to our bowl we can think…

“Where in my life do I need more Torah?

Yeast –

Yeast represents growth and expansion. When we add the yeast to our water it’s a perfect time to pray for the spiritual and emotional growth of each member of our family.

Yeast causes the bread to rise. We can pray also that Hashem would assist us in rising to meet our full potential!

Egg –

The egg represents the renewal of the lifecycle. It is also representative of a great potential “about to hatch” or waiting to be revealed. When adding the egg to our recipe, it’s a great time to pray for physical and spiritual renewal for our family. Also, to pray for those “great potentials about to hatch” in our lives… whatever they may be.

Oil –

 Oil represents Hashem’s anointing. The Jewish kings were anointed with oil. Many women have the tradition of saying each of their children’s names as they add the oil to the mixture.

 We can pray for the anointing to do what Hashem has called us to do, that our families will walk in and under the anointing of the Ruach and feel the pleasure that the anointing brings and that Hashem would make us sacred and set apart.

 Sugar –

 Sugar represents blessings!

When adding the sugar, pray for your family to have a sweet life, a constant remembrance of the sweetness of Hashem, and that sweet words will flow from our mouths to those around us.

Sugar also represents emunah (faith). When we have the proper faith – everything becomes sweeter, even things that seem difficult – because we realize that everything is from Hashem and for our good!

We can pray that our emunah would be strengthened.

Salt –

Salt is the next ingredient and it represents discipline and criticism. We need salt in a much smaller measure. There is a tradition to shake a little salt off the top of your measuring spoon as a reminder that we should give others less of a rebuke than what we sometimes feel is necessary.

Salt also represents purification. In the kashering process, salt is rubbed onto the meat to extract the blood and toxins. When we add the salt we can pray that Hashem would remove anything toxic in our lives… in our mind, soul, or bodies.

Flour –

 Flour is the foundation of the bread.

When you add the flour pray for your family’s foundation to be firmly established in truth.

Flour also represents sustenance. We can pray for blessings on our financial provision, also over relationships that sustain us.

Kneading –

The next step is kneading the dough.

When we knead the dough we are creating unity. It’s a great time to reflect on the oneness of G-d and pray for unity within our homes and communities.

Now to let it rise!

 How many of us like waiting? We can pray that our families will have endurance to wait on Hashem until it is time for His work to be accomplished.

I hope this post inspires and encourages you all in this beautiful and meaningful mitzvah.

(I’d like to note that these thoughts are not original but a compilation of various teachings I’ve either read or heard.)

Shabbat Shalom!

B’H,

Maayan

{Shabbat Inspiration}

The last few Shabbats I have posted a picture of my Shabbat table on Instagram and Facebook.

My friend, Morgan, had the wonderful idea to take weekly pics of our Shabbat tables. The motivation is to inspire and encourage one another. 🙂

As a mom with two littles, there are days when I don’t even get a shower! Cooking isn’t really my thing. My nice serving platters and dishes are all packed away… waiting to move. Sometimes… ok, lets be honest, (a lot of times) the whole idea of cleaning the house and serving a lavish meal on a beautifully set table… EVERY FRIDAY(???) feels overrated. 

I have been encouraged and inspired to take the extra time to set my Shabbat table knowing I have friends all over making Erev Shabbat a priority as well.

shabbat1

I have learned the hard way not to wait until friday to start preparing for Shabbat! I have found that if I do a little work each day it is not overwhelming and it infuses the light of Shabbat into my weekdays. 🙂

Here is my new and improved Shabbat prep schedule: 

Monday – Start cleaning, listen to the Torah portion while doing chores.

Tuesday – Laundry, wash tablecloth, Read Chumash commentary .

Wednesday – Clean house  (TRY make sure ALL the cleaning is done.)

Thursday – Make challah, dessert, food prep , set the table

Friday – Cook, baths, layout clothes for Shabbat, Prep Shabbat lunch

Saturday – Shabbat!!! 

Sunday – Pick Shabbat menu, back to work 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite related quotes:

“The week does not carry Shabbat … Shabbat carries the week.”

“You get out of Shabbat what you put into Shabbat — from the clothes you wear to the sheets on which you sleep.”

“You don’t get dressed for guests, you get dressed for Shabbat.”

“Friday is not a time for frantic physical preparation for Shabbat, but rather unhurried, spiritual preparation for this important day. Take time to do some reading and thinking about the whole concept of Shabbat.”

“Shabbat is a queen that makes the humblest home into a palace.” (b. Talmud) 

If you are a Shabbat pro… what are your tips? If you are like me, I hope this encourages you to take part in the Erev Shabbat festivities! Let me see some pics!!! 

SHABBAT SHALOM,

Maayan