Friday, April 24, 2009


The Seventh Day.

For the longest time the concept of the Jewish day of rest made little sense to me. It seemed absurd to forgo those everyday actions that had through modern technology become effortless in the extreme.

Lights are switched on with the mere flick of a switch. The television requires only the pressing of a button. There are countless acts of daily life that seem naturally inclusive in a day of rest and yet they are forbidden.

In time I have come to appreciate the exquisite sensitivity that is at the heart of the Sabbath. Every Jewish Festival allows for a deep interaction with some aspect of our humanity. The Sabbath itself is regarded as a festival and its message is so profound that it requires a weekly practise.

The Sages say that the Sabbath, a realm in which none of the 39 acts of creativity used to build the tabernacle in the desert are allowed, is a small taste of " the world to come, Olam Habah " The Sabbath is a sacred space of being, not doing.

The weekdays are the world of action, the time for creativity and construction. Taking apart. Building up. This then, is the world of men; of life itself.

The urgency that one feels as the countdown to the Sabbath begins and the final preparations are carried out before they are no longer possible, should awaken in us the reality of our mortality. Just as we carefully prepare for the peace and harmony of this seventh day so too we should be constantly preparing for, if you like, the final Sabbath.

It is a weekly surrender to the Cycle of Life and Death as we say goodbye to one reality only to arrive at another. I am so grateful each week to have these rituals that gather my family and friends towards me as we celebrate the beauty of our human beingness.