Why is Shabbat One of the 10 “Commandments”?
I did not grow up in a Shomer Shabbat home, by any stretch.
My mother grew up in a New Jersey (Hillside) family very much culturally Jewish but not religiously practicing. My mom didn’t have a bat mitzvah and only went to confirmation because a friend was doing that.
My father grew up in a more traditional Massachusetts (Belmont) home (kosher, synagogue founders) but was a bit of a rebel— the first one to reject kashrut in the family, much to his grandmother’s horror.
While holiday observance and synagogue membership were important in our family, we never celebrated Shabbat.
The only Shabbat experience I ever had as a young person was through Camp Pembroke, my all-girls Jewish summer camp and our youth group shabbatonim.
Flash forward many years….Shabbat is a major part of my life.
I look forward to it with “bated breath” (as the saying goes), and without it, I’m convinced I would have died of some stress related disease by now.
Shabbat is the opportunity to take a break from doing and allowing yourself to just be.
Why is Shabbat one of the 10 “commandments?”
Because slavery comes in many forms.
- Today’s presentation of it is in the form of slavery to one’s work. Is there any full day or large block of time that you don’t allow work to invade your life? If the answer is no, you are a modern slave… of your own making.
- Or slavery to one’s personal devices— your phone, tablet, tv. Can you live without your phone for a full day or large block of time? If the answer is no, you are a modern slave… of your own making.
- Or slavery to the To-Do List. Can you go for a full day or large block of weekend time without being “productive” and completing your “to-do’s”? If the answer is no, you are a modern slave… of your own making.
If you’ve never kept Shabbat for 24/25 hours, then start small. Keep Friday night or Saturday morning.
But PLEASE do something to give yourself a rest, to attend to your soul, to reduce your addiction to technology and control.
Watch this 2-minute video by Webby Award creator Tiffany Shlein about the power of a Tech Shabbat: