““There is a word that is seldom said, a word for an emotion almost too deep to be expressed: the love of the Sabbath.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
“Sabbath has a flavor of Paradise about it.” ~~ Talmud, Berakhot
I want a simpler life, full of living and not just existing. I’ve reduced things in the house becoming quickly the declutter lover that I am today. I’ve also reduced emails coming in, groups I’m in, pages I follow and lastly…people I’m friends with.
But what if that isn’t enough? What IS enough?
‘Enough’ is when I find more peace in my day than anxiety. ‘Enough’ is when I more willingly cherish the faces of my family than the face of technology. ‘Enough’ is when I realize that being TOO connected to the outside world is not actually the best life, it’s draining, distracting and demoralizing. ‘Enough’ is when I go a whole day (or week, month, year) without thinking in status updates, links to look up or feeling shackled to my email inbox.
Maybe ‘enough’ is that Shabbat feeling of beautiful rest, holy and set apart, a feeling that lasts all week. To welcome another beautiful Shabbat that warms the soul, giving life to it and breathing the Lord’s purpose back into my life…to let me carry on for one more week as His child, a wife and a mother.
If you don’t take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You’re doing too much, you’re being too much in charge. You’ve got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you’re not doing anything. Eugene H. Peterson
I want a Shabbat life
…what that looks like, I’m only beginning to see. I want the Shalom, the traditions, the memories and the connectedness with generations before me.
Last Shabbat I shut off my phone. Completely off. Not just on quiet or vibrate, but off. In full confession I did turn it on 4 times to look something up online, or in the notes app I use for brain dumping. The weight of technology and the pull of ‘just one more look/click’ is too strong for this Padawan to resist. The phone just sits there whispering to me, begging me to add one more post, or share one more article. One more. Always more never less.
In my quest to seek less, technology has me seek more. But what more: more likes, more comments, more friends following me? And what less: less face to face with my family, less time to pursue my passions, less time to develop the intimacy with my husband. So what matters to me? My family. And if you’ve hung around here long enough I’m going to assume that family and friends are what’s important to you, as well.
So what does Shabbat have to do with it?
I’m glad you asked.
Keeping the Sabbath day holy is much more than just physical rest. It involves spiritual renewal and worship. James E. Faust
We celebrate Shabbat on the 7th day, as is told to us in the Scriptures. It’s a time to spend in rest, reflection, and introspection. (at least for me, hello over thinker!) It goes against everything our society tells us is important, or worthy of our time. IF we’re not busy DOING, we’re not being productive ENOUGH. If we’re sitting still, we’re letting GREAT opportunities pass us by, and then we’ll be BEHIND.
My one day of rest means I can let the worries of the world go, Just Let It Go. (some of you will be singing that song now, you’re welcome.) Shabbath means I am free to focus on Hashem, to nurture my soul, and rest my body. It means I can connect deeper with my family as we grow together in faith and traditions.
When I’m able to observe Shabbat as I’ve been lead to do my once weary soul gains renewed life and purpose for one more week. The beauty of the flickering candles, the smell of fresh bread, the rich hue of the wine (or grape juice)…my husband, and children around the table. Memories are made of these things and the children enjoy these Shabbat traditions just as much as we do!
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
under trees on a summer’s day,
listening to the murmur of the water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is by no means a waste of time.
– John Lubbock
Mr. Lubbock has a wonderfully simple and peaceful way to celebrate this set apart day: in nature, quietly, unassumingly, and at peace with ones’ world. Add some simple card games for the children around the kitchen table, some teaching from the Torah, and this would be my ‘perfect’ Shabbat. Although perfection never happens, each week I get a new chance to try again. To renew my commitment to Hashems’ ways. I have one goal for myself, however. To give to others as we have been greatly blessed, and I want to share that blessing with those who need it.
Simple and Effective Ways to Prepare for Shabbat
I’m still new to this but I thought I would share 3 simple tips to enrich your Shabbat celebrations and observance.
- Do what you can, as you can. Living out our faith is a slow and steady process. You can’t learn everything in a short amount of time, not even our 2 years is enough time to REALLY learn and appreciate what Shabbat does for us. So as I learn more, we include more. And if some weeks we slide into Shabbat by our teeth…the next 6 days give us the opportunity to plan better. 😉
- Plan your week, well. I’d been given some wonderful advice and I wanted to pass it along. If you can plan your week out so that you ease into preparation day, an Erev Shabbat, then peace comes easier for you. This is something I’ve just started to just to incorporate myself. Rearranging our cleaning schedules, shopping trips and activities, so that we have time to get all the needed trips, and cleaning done.
- Expect to mess up. Yes, because you will. Hands down we all mess up in something which we endeavor to do because we are human! If you plan for this, it won’t surprise you and you can just roll with it. I’ve had several Shabbats that just…did NOT go as I’d wanted them too. And I got angry!! (not the purpose of Shabbat, I tell ya!) I call these days the learning curve and funnily enough, it helps me to relax and not worry when things go crazy.
Live for Shabbat, and Shabbat for living…seems like a worthy goal, don’t you think?
Shalom, my friends.