blessings, healing, Krayna Castelbaum, National Day of Unplugging, peace, prayer, Shabbat Manifesto
The inherent problem with classical Judaism’s view of Shabbat is that it’s a series of don’ts. Don’t do this, don’t do that. Basically, don’t do.
The idea of unplugging implies that Shabbat should be a day of absence. If so, it’s closer to being a fast day than a celebration of God’s rest after creating everything.
The Sabbath Manifesto, while offering some “dos” as well as “don’ts” doesn’t offer much in the way of celebration. Yeah, I know, it does include things like connect with loved ones, give back, drink wine. Doesn’t sound too exciting though. Maybe the problem is that the presentation is a bit soulless.
And there’s the crux of the matter. Shabbat isn’t about “not doing.” And it’s not about “doing the right thing.” It’s much deeper, much more positive. Beyond simple absence of busyness. As my poetic friend Krayna Castelbaum put it:
This made me think. The blessing of shabbos is not about “recharging,” but rather resting in the state of joy and gratitude that is our inherent nature. It exists as a sanctuary in time with no agenda, not even giving back – except for the offering of our joy, which feeds the universe (a Hassidic idea).
Nothing wrong with this list, just important stuff, to me, left out, like sing your prayers, sink into praise for the blessings life offers, pray for peace, offer healing prayers, make love, move into balance, enjoy the mystery of creation, nap…welcome your soul home.
The Unplugging folks got one thing right — separating Shabbat from the other six days of the week is important and worth the effort, and in our oh-so-busy world, in which we are so firmly plugged-in, there are too many opportunities to slip back into normalcy. Which is a shame, because the gift that the Sabbath provides is priceless.
How remarkable that we get this opportunity every week. I don’t know about you, but I routinely let my life get too busy. I get carried away by the minutia of life, and weekend time is so short and precious that it’s easy to fall back into taking care of business.
So I think that this weekend I’ll follow both the Unplugged people’s advice and Krayna’s, and truly celebrate Shabbat. If you try it, I’ll be interested to know how it went.
Ronni Blumenthal said:
This Shabbat I am going to let social justice take over and walk some miles to protest at Publix in Tampa together with workers from Immokalee. I will have to indulge myself with the deliciousness of Shabbat another time. How lucky for me that it arrives each week.
When I lived in Jerusalem, I lived in Nachlaot which is on the edge of the Machne Yehuda market. We were poor students living in an unheated flat with a rooftop view of the alleyways and synagogues. On Fridays, we cashed our respective paychecks and treated ourselves to challah, cheese, dried fruits and nuts,a rare piece of Elite chocolate, fresh coconut meat and fresh flowers to grace the table. The vendors smiled and everyone looked into your eyes when they said “Shabbat Shalom”. Sundown in Jerusalem is a beautiful time of day at any time, but the late afternoon light on Friday seemed golder. Richer. The siren went off when Shabbat began and the entire city seemed to sigh and then take in a deep, full breath of that which is Shabbat. Families strolled the streets. Voices sang from open windows. Everyone let go of the week and entered a different space. This was a magical change for Israelis who lived out the other days of the week with an almost reckless and head spinning pace. It was so easy to light candles and watch the way the light danced on the cool stone walls of our home. It made sense to sit in the courtyard until it was totally dark, eating fresh dates with almonds and knowing that the lazy and lovely Shabbat stretched out like a cat in a pool of sun before us…to be whatever we fashioned it to be.
I hope I can capture a small bit of that and bring it into my home. Thank you, Jennifer, for reminding me of the simple beauty of “not doing” and “doing different”.