Saturday, August 20, 2011
I didn't make it into Blogger yesterday - it was a busy day, spent, among other things, holding ten-week-old twins and preparing for Shabbat (fortunately, not at the same time).
Shabbat is a subject I am passionate about. I came to Jewish observance in my early- to mid-thirties, mostly under the influence of our then-rabbi and his wife. They demonstrated to me that it is possible to be modern, egalitarian, ambitious, connected, and also to set one day a week aside with no driving, no writing, no cooking, no phone calls and no Internet. What at first seemed awkward is now a haven, although I will admit that as soon as the Havdalah candle is extinguished and we are separated from the sacred, I run to satisfy two of my addictions - Internet and freshly brewed coffee. In the intervening years since we began to keep Shabbat I have learned to lead services, to spend time studying, and to increase the quality of that strand in my life I call my Jewish neshama, or soul. While we pray every day, in the presence of the Shabbat Queen we have a neshama yeteira, an extra helping of holiness.
My children have grown up with Shabbat observance and have never known us to do otherwise. It has been fascinating to watch as they mature from hating the day-with-no-electronics to appreciation of the time to read, play board games, talk and go to the park. My fifteen-year-old puts away the ubiquitous texting and seems truly relieved to be out of touch for twenty five hours. My twelve-year-old is in transition, and my eight-year-old still completely hates it, although she does enjoy the social aspects of dressing up and going to shul. The availability of adults who would otherwise be staring at a screen is also not to be underestimated.
Do you set time aside to attend to your soul and your family? If not, why not?