Friday, July 6, 2007
How do I enjoy Shabbat with all its prohibitions?
The truth is that Shabbat can be enjoyed because of its prohibitions. We live in the 21st century, where stress is a way of life. We run around at a thousand miles an hour all week (except when we’re stuck, cursing, in traffic). Answering phones, checking emails, reading text messages, paying bills, giving/taking instructions- life is hectic. We eat on the run; barely have time for our families and battle to nurture our souls.
Shabbat is time-out. You are not allowed to answer the phone. You may not deal with your business affairs. Driving is verboten. Your business associates, clients, and friends learn to accept it. You may be tempted to “check in on the office” when you’re on vacation. On Shabbat you have no choice. That’s the advantage of the “prohibitions”- they’re non-negotiable.
We run around at a thousand miles an hour all week (except when we’re stuck, cursing, in traffic). Answering phones, checking emails, reading text messages, paying bills, giving/taking instructions- life is hectic. On Shabbat you do sit and eat a meal as a family. You might even catch up on some sleep. You dedicate time to prayer, meditation and a bit of study. It’s actually refreshing.
Besides, much of our stress centers on our thinking we’re in control. Since we believe we’re in charge, we feel we have to carry the full weight of life on our shoulders.
Shabbat refocuses our perspective. The Shabbat prohibitions are designed to make us realize that we cannot always do things as and when we please.
Shabbat coaches us to defer to Higher Authority - at least for 24 hours a week. Then, we step into the week’s work-whirlwind relaxed, ready to focus and secure in the belief that Someone-Up-There is looking after our interests.
You don’t enjoy only Shabbat with its prohibitions; you enjoy the whole week. (Rabbi Ari Shishler at AskMoses.com)
Glass artist extraordinaire Tamara Baskin created this Hamsa with the symbol for the twelve tribes. Tamara was born and raised in Israel but began her art career in the United States. She is educated in multiple media but has recently focused her work on fused glass.