Six Senses: Transforming Your New Home Office into a Shabbat Sanctuary

How do you create #fridaynightmagic at home if you’ve been working… from home?

@marissafreeman4♬ Nonstop – Drake

Whether you’re celebrating Shabbat on your own, with your housemates, or joining one of the many OneTable virtual dinners, let your senses lead the transition. 

Visual

  • Lighting Try turning off lights you usually leave on, draping fabric over a light to change its hue, or using twinkly lights or night-lights to create a Shabbat glow.
  • Angles Sit in a different seat than usual, and see what you notice about the space. Maybe there’s a crack in the paint, a backwards book, or the carpet needs vacuuming. Let the to-do list rest, and just be.
  • Set the Mood Light candles, set the table, and get creative. Write a note to your roomie or partner as their place card, or find a way to make your own seat feel special.

Olfactory

  • Scented Candles Breathe into Shabbat, and welcome the fragrance of something new.
  • Bread Whether it’s home-baked or store-bought, all bread smells delicious when warmed in the oven. 
  • Nature Consider fresh flowers (if available) or moving your house plants to a more prominent location for dinner.

Taste

  • Savor Set aside a favorite beverage or side as a special Shabbat treat. You’ve made it through a tough week — welcome the weekend with something delicious.
  • Sip Whether it’s a crisp glass of water, a steaming cup of tea, or a rich glass of wine — do your best to slow down and truly taste without distraction.
  • Bake This is your moment! Try your hand at challah — our favorite recipe is on page 29 here.

Physical

  • Finery Break out the wardrobe. From pajamas to black tie — ditch what you wore all day and welcome Shabbat with something new.
  • Feng Shui Consider harmonizing with your environment by reconfiguring your furniture. Change your space, change your place, welcome Shabbat.
  • Relax Create an at-home Shabbat spa. Hop in the shower or chill in the bath, do a face mask, trim your beard, do your hair… whatever makes you feel pampered.

Auditory

  • Voices Reach out to family or friends you haven’t spoken to. Catch up while cleaning up, cooking, or putting away the trimmings of your work day.
  • Jams Create a playlist that transitions you from your work vibe into your Shabbat vibe. Whether that’s EDM,  jazz, white noise, or top 40, use music as a way to tell yourself the week is over. And don’t forget to check out our Spotify playlist.
  • Talk It Out Give yourself a verbal pat on the back and congratulate yourself for a week well done. Then tell yourself — outloud! in the mirror! — that you’ve done enough and you are enough, and you’re ready for Shabbat. 

Jonathan Safran Foer writes that Jewish communities often use a sixth sense to understand the world — a sense of memory. Physical distancing can be emotionally and mentally draining as well, so here are a few transitions which focus on your inner state most of all.

  • Appreciate Incorporate a gratitude meditation  (page 8) into your Shabbat experience.
  • Reflect Consider the week you just had, allowing your mind to rest on one thing that set each day apart.
  • Read Aloud Your favorite short story, a beloved poem, or something new — get meaningful words in your mouth and narrative in the air.
  • Breathe Ground yourself. Allow your thoughts to calm. We particularly love this one-minute guided breathing exercise from Headspace.
Annie Prusky

Annie is the OneTable DMV Field Manager who loves hosting people and has a passion for relationship-building and empowering folks to create their own vibrant expressions of modern Judaism.

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