Shabbos on the road in a Jewish community or at least a Chabad House can be a lovely experience. You’ll get invited out and won’t need to take care of all the pesky details of Shabbos. But when you travel to the Jewish backwaters, even in North America or Western Europe, you’ll need preparation.
Lets say you got wine or grape-juice, a few rolls or Challah and enough food. What else?
Lets see. Shabbos candles? I can use two tea-lights.
A Kiddush cup? I’m sure the hotel will have a clean glass cup in the room. At worst, I’ll get a disposable cup.
A cover for the Challah when I make Kiddush? I’ll use a disposable napkin.
Bsamim (spices) for Havdala? I’m sure I’ll find a lavender bush somewhere in the street or something like it.
Done. All’s good.
Ze Eli V’Anvehu
In Exodus 15:2 are the following words “Ze Eli V’Anvehu” – This is my God and I will glorify (or beautify) Him. The sages interpet these words to mean that a Mitsvah must be performed in a way which beautifies the act. So one should invest in making the object of the Mitsvah as nice as possible.
When you buy the Arba’at HaMinim, invest some money and get a nice set. Don’t just pick up the cheapest one (even if it happens to be Kosher). When you buy a set of Tefillin for your son (or yourself), get a quality set, as much as you can afford. After all we beautify our homes and get nice furniture. We buy pretty clothes and not only off-the-rack jeans and T-shirts, and so forth. We should treat our Mitsvos with the same investment into quality and beauty, not less than what we invest into our person needs.
A disposable cup for Kiddish, a napkin for the Challa and two matches for the Havdala candle are Halachically valid but aren’t exactly beautifying the Shabbos experience. Unless we’re unexpectedly stuck in the Sahara Desert and that’s the only thing available.
Shabbat Travel Kit
I discovered a very cute Shabbat Travel Kit called The Shabbat Collection. It’s a handy compact bag with all the equipment you need for Shabbos on the road.
- Folding Kiddush Cup
- Wine flask
- Mini salt shaker
- Challah cover
- Birkon (Bentcher)
- Candle for Havdala
- Spices for Havdala
I’ve never seen it personally but it looks nice and for $59.95 seems reasonable too, if you’re on the road a lot. BTW the Kiddush cup is 4.8oz (141 ml), which is sufficiently large for the lenient Rabbinical opinion ( 86ml Rabbi Chaim Na’eh), though a bit smaller than the more stringent (150ml Chazon Ish)
Shabbat Shalom / Gut Shabbos !