Some things in Judaism just make sense. We may do them because it tells us so in the Torah, or in order to fulfill a mitzvah. But the fact is simple: some things in Judaism make sense from a psychological or cultural perspective. Baal tashchit, not destroying our environment, makes sense. Tikkun Olam, trying to do our part to repair the world, makes sense. Observing shiva and shelohsim, periods of mourning after loss, make sense.
Simply put, shabbat makes sense.
So too Shabbat makes sense. In our busy days, where we run from place to place, directed by Google calendars, Waze apps and Siri; chasing time as it disappears into the sunset, daily, we need to simply stop. The idea that we have, in our tradition, a day when we are instructed to slow down, to catch up, to regroup and re-energize, is brilliant. Sometimes I wonder if God, the authors of the Torah and the rabbis of old could possibly have known just how much we would NEED Shabbat.
It is known to many what Ahad Ha’am says on this matter: “more than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.” In some ways, shabbat has kept the Jews as Jews. It has kept us connected to our heritage through ritual, prayer and family celebrations. Shabbat has also kept the Jews as people, giving us a day to rest and recharge, so we are ready for another week.
As we prepare for this New Year,
Let us prepare to embrace Shabbat in new and different ways.
Rabbi Debbie Bravo
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