In need of some Shabbat

Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 - 11:34 am


Studies in neuroscience have found that the human brain cannot possibly process all the information it is exposed to and with the rate at which technology is advancing and speeding up our lives, I start to wonder if the invention of Shabbat was specifically created for our generation.

When more than now have we needed some time out, some powering down from everything that is constantly grabbing at our attention? Some time to choose what we focus on rather than allowing everyone else to decide for us.

But how easy is it to do just that? Just the thought of it brings a dread of all that we’ll miss out on. Which is probably why when G-d told us to observe the Shabbat, (in this week’s Torah portion) He wrote “for six days the work shall be done, and on the seventh day you shall have sanctity, a day of complete rest to the L-rd”.

Rather than writing ‘you shall do work’, He wrote ‘the work shall be done’ (in hebrew te’oseh connotes the work being done as if automatically). The reason for this is to teach us that if we approach our week load of work with an attitude that the job will get done; i.e. we will put in the effort and with G-d’s blessing it will succeed, then our Shabbat will be a truly blissful day of rest.

If we believe that our personal input is all that matters in our work, then our Shabbat will be spent worrying about what we could have and should have done differently, and what we need to do that just can’t wait until Saturday night.

If we understand that the break for Shabbat is mandated by the same source as that which completes and blesses our work then we won’t feel any pressure to finish our job on Shabbat, so as not to miss out on that blessing.

Going back only a few generations, we can see how the tide has shifted.

In the 1930s in America if a person did not show up to work on Saturday they were out of a job by Monday. In the early 1900s for a Jewish family living on the prairie in North Dakota, when all it took was one flash flood to destroy an entire year’s worth of work potentially sending your family to starvation, the pull to run out and save what you could was tremendously strong, even as in some cases if it needed to be done on Shabbat.

In those times the forces pulling our people from observing Shabbat were more external. Nowadays, they seem far more internal. No longer are we required to be in the office on a Saturday if we opt to come in on a Sunday, and no longer are we as dependant on the elements as we once were.

The pull, however, is no less powerful but if we recognize that it’s more our perception than the reality perhaps it will be a little less challenging to resist.

So join me for a therapeutically relaxing Shabbat, you deserve it:)


Picture of the week:20140219_132653 (1).jpg


Hot chocolate on the Walk, mmmm:)

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