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How is your Shabbat observance going?

03/16/2023 03:44:20 PM


Sarah Avner, Cantorial Soloist

This week’s Torah portion begins with the following:

Exodus 35:1-2

וַיַּקְהֵ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶֽת־כׇּל־עֲדַ֛ת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֑ם אֵ֚לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה יְהֹוָ֖ה לַעֲשֹׂ֥ת אֹתָֽם׃

Moses then convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them: These are the things that Adonai has commanded you to do:

שֵׁ֣שֶׁת יָמִים֮ תֵּעָשֶׂ֣ה מְלָאכָה֒ וּבַיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י יִהְיֶ֨ה לָכֶ֥ם קֹ֛דֶשׁ שַׁבַּ֥ת שַׁבָּת֖וֹן לַיהֹוָ֑ה כׇּל־הָעֹשֶׂ֥ה ב֛וֹ מְלָאכָ֖ה יוּמָֽת׃

On six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a sabbath of complete rest, holy to Adonai; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

As Reform Jews we get to make a lot of decisions regarding our observance of Judaism. Many of us have jobs that cause us to work on Shabbat. We drive our cars, we turn lights on and off, we check our email, we call or text our friends, we go shopping, we cook, the list is truly endless. Sometimes, Shabbat is the only day in the week we can get out to run errands. How would we maintain our households or get more done if we chose to observe this day of “complete rest” being instructed by God?

As we go about our busy lives I invite all of us to make some time for Shabbat. A day of “complete rest” might be unattainable, but what about an hour or two? Or three, or four? What if we scheduled in Shabbat rest like we do a dentist appointment? We know that going to the dentist, maintaining good oral hygiene, has tremendous health benefits. Fortunately, resting, take a break from our usual stressors, also has remarkable health benefits. A quick search in Google: “health benefits of rest” brings up 10 articles on the subject.

As we head into another Shabbat, I invite you to schedule some time for the rest we are commanded by God to take. If you already have a Shabbat afternoon nap, try adding an additional hour of being unplugged. Who knows? An hour could turn into 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 – and voila!

Sending all of you wishes for a true Shabbat of rest, peace, and self-care. It could just be with the other 6 days of your week need.

Shabbat Shalom.

Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784