The Beauty of Holiness | Shay B.
What day to day practices help you feel holy?
Keeping kosher is definitely something that has helped me on my pursuit of holiness. It is so much more than just a list of things I cannot eat. I have to make an effort to think about every single thing that I put into my body. I'm careful to think about the blessings to recite before and after eating. It's not as simple as just picking something up and putting it in my mouth. I'd like it to have a reflection on the other aspects of my life. That I can turn every simple thing I do into an act of holiness.
What are some difficult choices you have had to make in order to feel aligned with G-d, and feel His holiness in your life?
I have quite a long list of things that felt difficult when we decided to become more observant. Uprooting our family from a home and neighborhood we loved to another state and a much smaller apartment to be closer to a religious community was probably one of the most difficult ones. But it is one I will never regret. Community is essential to our walk with G-d. Being close to like-minded people helps me feel closer to Him.
What is one word that best describes your journey on the pathway to holiness?
What inspires you?
My children. Seeing them instantly joining in to our community and observance in every aspect keeps me going. When they excitedly hop around my kitchen because they see me braiding the challah on Friday morning exclaiming, "It's almost Shabbat!" Or when they sing loudly in synagogue all the prayers that I'm learning at a much slower pace. When they proudly show me all the Hebrew words they can read from their siddur. Those small, special moments are what keep me going.
Why do you feel you are here on earth?
In this moment, I'm here for my children. I'm here to help them find their purpose. To attempt to raise them in a way that makes the world a little bit better place to be.
When do you feel most connected to G-d?
When I'm helping serve the needs of my community and neighborhood. Whether it be spending an entire day making lunch for all of our congregants or doing laundry for a new mom who has asked for help. When I serve, I see beyond myself. I try to see people through the eyes of my Heavenly Father and I try to express the love I know He has for us. In this way, it helps me feel so connected to Him.
How have you encouraged your children to take time to be holy?
I feel as though children are best taught through example. Trying my best to be focused on my religious journey is my way of encouraging them. Another way is to make it something they want to do. We never have to force our children to sit at the Shabbat table. They are usually seated before us because they're excited about the songs, blessings, and food. They will rarely get antsy because we try to engage them the entire time. Their love for Shabbat is something I hope and pray stays with them their entire life.
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
— Proverbs 29 & 96
Shay is an observant Jew and homeschooling mom of four living in the Twin Cities area.