Friday, December 29, 2017

Beauty and Necessity of Shabbat

Mosaic Shabbat "Plate" I made

I don't see the Jewish Laws of Shabbat, Sabbath as restrictive. For me it's a freedom, an escape from the chores and responsibilities and burdens of the everyday world. 

Basic 39 Categories of "work" forbidden on Shabbat:
They found 39 categories of forbidden acts, all of which are types of work that were needed to build the sanctuary:
  1. Sowing
  2. Plowing
  3. Reaping
  4. Binding sheaves
  5. Threshing
  6. Winnowing
  7. Selecting
  8. Grinding
  9. Sifting
  10. Kneading
  11. Baking
  12. Shearing wool
  13. Washing wool
  14. Beating wool
  15. Dyeing wool
  16. Spinning
  17. Weaving
  18. Making two loops
  19. Weaving two threads
  20. Separating two threads
  21. Tying
  22. Untying
  23. Sewing two stitches
  24. Tearing
  25. Trapping
  26. Slaughtering
  27. Flaying
  28. Salting meat
  29. Curing hide
  30. Scraping hide
  31. Cutting hide up
  32. Writing two letters
  33. Erasing two letters
  34. Building
  35. Tearing a building down
  36. Extinguishing a fire
  37. Kindling a fire
  38. Hitting with a hammer
  39. Taking an object from the private domain to the public, or transporting an object in the public domain.

(Mishnah Shabbat, 7:2)

These aren't the same as the secular concept of "work." We follow the traditional rabbinic interpretations of what these mean in today's world. It isn't a matter of "relaxation" in the physical sense.  So, it's not a matter of "driving or texting isn't hard, so why can't I do it?" Many/most modern conveniences are totally forbidden on Shabbat, because they utilize forbidden elements like fire/electricity or aspects of "creation" which are totally forbidden.

Consider that nowadays with the advent of internet, cellphones etc people rarely communicate face to face, in person, having twenty-five 25 hours every week when you must look someone in the eye, and not on a screen is of the utmost importance.

On Shabbat we're also rather tethered to our homes, since even if we're fit, we aren't to walk over a certain distance. We're also commanded to pray in a group, a minyan, so community is developed. And we have to live nearby, surrounding our synagogue.

Since it's forbidden to cook on Shabbat, we're freed of the burden of food preparation. It must be done beforehand and is rather easy, once you get the hang of it. All I do is to place the cooked food on the warmer and cut up some salad. There's also the community aspect of inviting and being invited to friends and neighbors.

We tune out from what's happening outside, which is so relaxing. Everyone needs a day to spiritually recharge.

Even though I wasn't raised in a Sabbath Observing home or community, I can't imagine living without Shabbat. That is especially when I hear how busy others who don't observe the Sabbath are over their weekends. I wonder how they survive without this rest I get every week.

Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach,
May You have a Peaceful and Blessed Sabbath

Mosaic Shabbat "Plate" I made


Mr. Cohen said...

How Shabbat-desecration harms
Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem:

Mr. Cohen said...

Midrash Tehillim for Psalm 73:
In our times, when a Jew goes to gather figs on Shabbat,
the figs say nothing.
But in the future, if a man will gather a fig on Shabbat,
the fig will scream: TODAY IS SHABBAT!!

Midrash Tehillim for Psalm 92:
Whoever observes Shabbat, G_d [literally, the
Holy One Blessed be He] forgives all his sins.

Midrash Tehillim for Psalm 95:
Rabbi Levi taught: If all Jews would
observe even one Shabbat correctly,
they would be saved immediately.

Batya said...

Shavua Tov
Have a wonderful week Mr. Cohen and everyone else.