Friday, October 25, 2013

Street Photo of the Day - Israel Edition - Oct. 25, 2013

Erev Shabbat, Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel 2013. © Mason Resnick.

The story behind this photo. Although I normally don't write captions for street shots, I'm going to break my rule here.

It was about an hour before sunset on Friday. I asked the man why he was handing out sprigs of fragrant leaves. He told me it is a sephardic minhag (custom) to smell the leaves and say the blessing over spices, "Boreh Asei Besamim" before Shabbat, then put them aside. After Shabbat, you say havdalah (the blessings marking the end of Shabbat) over them. He then gave me a branch and we said the blessing together. I brought it back with me to the hotel and after Shabbat our tour group said Havdalah over spices and included this one.

Back in New Jersey, I decided to start this minhag in our house and beautify the Mitzvah of Shabbat. Ever since then, I always make sure to bring home some fragrant spices (mint, dill, oregano...whatever is available locally) and say the blessing over it before and after Shabbat. This is my way of bringing a bit of the Kotel back to our house in NJ.

Shabbat Shalom.

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