This past Shabbat (Sabbath) was the first time I realized the impact that having electricity has on Friday afternoon—prior to when the Sabbath begins. I am often rushing before candle lighting—the time when Shabbat begins—trying to get ready ’til the last second. This past Shabbat was one of those times and I realized that if it were not for electricity I would not be so stressed out and rushing around prior to the start of Shabbat. My husband shared with me that before electricity, there was a discussion in the Talmud that people who were poor would eat dinner earlier in the evening while those with more money ate later in the evening since they could afford candles.
I realized that in a similar way, I am able to prolong my routine for preparing for Shabbat, because we have lights in our apartment. Years back I pondered the impact artificial lighting has on our circadian rhythm and the later bed times we have come to know being glued to the internet or even being able to stay up and read with the light on.
This past weekend I realize there is a similar impact on my shabbat prepping and how divorced we are from nature. How getting ready on time MAY be harder since we can use artificial lighting while we get ready and are not in touch with the gradual darkening of the outdoors (i.e. the sun setting).