#BlogElul 7 – Be

BlogElul graphicI’m always curious about the methods that Rabbi Sommer uses to decide which word goes on which day. Some of it I’m sure is deliberately random, but on the other hand, if Be ended up on Shabbat just randomly, it was a very serendipitous chance.

Shabbat, like no other day of the week, is a time to Be, rather than Do.

Shabbat has been described as an island in time – it’s a time when observant Jews disengage from their busy world. No business is conducted, electronics are put away. It’s a time for community, for prayer, for relaxing with family, and for that all-important afternoon nap.

Lying on the couch, reading sections of the paper I don’t normally have time to read, listening to the kids playing Monopoly or Scrabble (keeping track of their scores using books), it is a time to just be, to recharge our energy for the busy, stressful week ahead. When my children were little, they moaned and complained about not being allowed to play with their electronics, but as they become overloaded teenagers, their appreciation for Shabbat has grown. What teenager would not appreciate a day to sleep in, hang out with their friends, and do no homework or activities at all, with parental approval?

Of all the many gifts I’ve received from choosing to take my Judaism more seriously, Shabbat observance is easily the best and most profound. I am always amused when I read people extolling the idea of a “digital sabbatical”. We take one every week. I will admit that as soon as we have made Havdalah, the ceremony separating the sacred from the profane, we all immediately dive for our phones. It’s an addiction, after all.

But for 25 hours a week, we can just Be. How about you?

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