A long time ago in a
land and culture very far away, a prophet spoke about the important of
properly observing the Sabbath day.
Sabbath is a day of
rest, but it is more than a mere day off from work, it is a special
time, as the words of the prophet attest. Read the prophet’s words and
let us contemplate their meanings.
If you turn away on
Shabat from your path, doing your pleasures on my holy day and you call
Shabat pleasurable to sanctify honorable G-d, and you honor it by not
doing your way, from finding your desire and speaking a thing, then
shall you take pleasure in G-d and He will ride you upon the high places
of the land and give you to eat of the inheritance of Jacob your father
for the mouth of G-d has spoken.
Turn away on Shabat
from your path
– on this one day, you cease being the center of your own universe and
look outside of yourself to see a greater world.
Doing your pleasures
on my holy day
– pleasures serve the body, the Sabbath serves the soul. Only one who
recognizes that one has an inner reality alongside one’s outer reality
can withdraw from physical pleasures and pursuits and focus on what is
truly important. One violates the Sabbath when one over-indulges in
pleasurable to sanctify honorable G-d
– the pursuit of inner truth and spiritual enlightenment is the truest
source of personal contentment and happiness. When one discovers this
inner self-fulfillment, this gives honor to G-d in whose Image we are
created. True Sabbath observance is about providing rest for the soul,
there is no greater rest for the soul than to receive renewed strength
from its source within.
Honor it by not
doing your way
– Honor means showing respect, respect is what you do, how you act.
When you act with relaxation, you honor the Sabbath. One must put aside
all the weekday concepts of proper attire and a rigid schedule. One
should dress in the most casual and comfortable of clothes and spend the
day with family doing non-strenuous things, leaving nighttime for silent
meditation and contemplation of the greater truths of things.
From finding your
Life is good, the universe is generous, just remember that you are not
its center. Sabbath has to be a commitment to relax, to act
differently, to force yourself to think and look at the universe in a
different light than what is normally done. Withdraw, do not engage.
Sit back, do not stand up. Be happy with what you have, forget about
pursuing what you do not. On Sabbath, the universe does not stop; it is
we who must stop and let the universe go on by. Not to worry, when
Sabbath ends we return to the world in the exact place where we are
meant to be, only now we are refreshed, strengthened, revived, renewed,
ready to take on the universe fresh and use the work week to our benefit
and gain. Yes, the work week is for our gain and so too is the Sabbath.
And speaking a thing
– Great rule of the Sabbath: guard your tongue. Do not even speak about
those things unrelated to the moment. Where you think is where you are
at. What you speak reveals your thoughts. Your thoughts and words can
take you out of Sabbath; do not do this. Forget about the past and
future; live in the present, in the moment.
When one properly
safeguards the Sabbath within one’s mind and by one’s actions, the
radiant energy of the Sabbath will shine upon you during the weekdays
and in turn safeguard one from mishaps that occur due to one’s own short
The proper ritual
observance of the Sabbath for Jewish people must be learned from
competent and qualified authorities of Torah. Only when observed
properly can a Jew honor the Sabbath as a commemoration of freedom and
of the Exodus from Egypt. A Gentile may adopt their own Sabbath and
honor and respect it any way they please in commemoration of the Sabbath
of creation, as long as they do not endeavor to copy the Jewish ritual
observances. Sabbath is for everyone. How it is honored and observed
depends upon who you are. The general rule here applies: be who you, be
not who you are not.