Make Your Own Sabbath: Chill-Out!

 

For those of us who are pretty independent and don’t like anyone telling us what to do (I assume that is at least 75% of the people who follow Ricochet!), the idea of a Sabbath might be unattractive, to say the least, and distasteful at worst. But over the last couple of years, I’ve come to my own understanding about the Sabbath, how not only Jews and Christians can benefit from it, but everyone needs to have at least one Sabbath day each week. This is what I figured out:

In Judaism, G-d tells us that we must observe the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. I’m not the most observant Jew, but even with those mitzvot I follow, I realized why there are so many rules to Shabbat: because G-d knows we will cheat! And the only ones we will cheat are ourselves!

I believe the restrictions for Shabbat are in place because G-d knows that no matter how determined He is to give us a day of rest, we won’t do it with our hearts and souls. We’ll write a new post for Ricochet; we’ll do just a little laundry; we’ll do one more row on our knitting. I don’t claim to know all the other restrictions determined by the rabbis to keep us from breaking the Sabbath, but they are myriad. I think that is because they knew that G-d genuinely cares deeply about us. He wants us to experience the peacefulness of taking a break from “creating” all week (as He did in the beginning); he wants us to appreciate the fullness of a restful day, the joy of reflecting on life, the beauty of reading spiritual works on this special day; and the opportunity to reach out to Him in our desire to be closer to Him and know holiness.

G-d knows that most of us elevate the importance of work. That we identify with that which we create, produce, and design. G-d values our work, too, because it is a way for us to follow in His footsteps and be creators ourselves, to carry on the creative work which he began. But He also loves us enough to insist that we enjoy the beauty of not-working. Of our taking time to rest, to reflect on our lives and spend time with those we love.

Abraham Joshua Heschel said the following in his book, The Sabbath:

In the tempestuous ocean of time and toil there are islands of stillness where man may enter a harbor and reclaim his dignity. The island is the seventh day, the Sabbath, a day of detachment from things, instruments and practical affairs as well as of attachment to the spirit.

 If you value your life, give yourself the chance to “chill out”: create your own Sabbath. Make it a day when you can relax, reflect, and joyously be with those you love.

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There are 18 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Susan Quinn: Make it a day when you can relax, reflect, and joyously be with those you love.

    Choose any two. 😁

    • #1
    • July 10, 2019, at 6:34 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. She Thatcher
    She

    Great advice.

    • #2
    • July 10, 2019, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    G-d also said that animals are to rest. Exodus 23:12:

    Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your ass may have rest, and the son of your bondmaid, and the alien, may be refreshed.

    Also, the land. Exodus 23:11:

    …but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild beasts may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.

    • #3
    • July 10, 2019, at 6:38 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: If you value your life, give yourself the chance to “chill out”: create your own Sabbath. Make it a day when you can relax, reflect, and joyously be with those you love.

    One of the joys of retirement is every day is a Sabbath!

    • #4
    • July 10, 2019, at 6:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    G-d also said that animals are to rest. Exodus 23:12:

    Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your ass may have rest, and the son of your bondmaid, and the alien, may be refreshed.

    Also, the land. Exodus 23:11:

    …but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild beasts may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.

    Thanks, @9thdistrictneighbor! I guess I’m hoping that for those who don’t see these as commandments, they might see the Sabbath as a gift, something special to be explored. It has changed my life.

    • #5
    • July 10, 2019, at 6:42 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Aaron Miller Member

    In six days the Lord created everything and on the seventh day He rested. Metaphoric or not, I don’t believe the Creator needed time to regain energy. 

    I think the sabbath is as much about appreciation as it is gaining strength from His bounty. It’s not just for us to appreciate Him, but for us to better appreciate Creation as well. A work is not complete until it is enjoyed. 

    • #6
    • July 10, 2019, at 8:08 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Old Buckeye Member

    I found a lot to think about in the book Sabbath by Dan B. Allender. I came to think of the Sabbath in a whole different light. 

    • #7
    • July 10, 2019, at 9:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Thanks, @9thdistrictneighbor! I guess I’m hoping that for those who don’t see these as commandments, they might see the Sabbath as a gift, something special to be explored. It has changed my life.

    I think that regardless of the source, a lot of people would agree with the compassion of letting your animals rest and the frankly scientific principles behind crop rotation and leaving the land fallow. They might be surprised to find that wisdom to be quite ancient.

    • #8
    • July 10, 2019, at 12:59 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    I think that regardless of the source, a lot of people would agree with the compassion of letting your animals rest and the frankly scientific principles behind crop rotation and leaving the land fallow. They might be surprised to find that wisdom to be quite ancient.

    I agree! G-d is saying unequivocally that not just human beings should rest, but that everything is entitled to rest.

    • #9
    • July 10, 2019, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Rest is important work. This is part of our July theme series, in which you are invited to tell us how to “Chill Out!” Do click the link and sign up to share your own cool post.

    • #10
    • July 10, 2019, at 4:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Manny Member

    I was at a Bar Mitzva (did I spell that correctly?) a couple of months ago and the Rabbi said something to the effect the Sabbath was not about what you couldn’t do but about what you are now free to do. I think that’s very well put and now stuck in my memory.

    As for me, I absolutely try to keep my Sabbath (I’m Catholic, so it’s Sunday for me) keep it holy. I wish I could completely refrain from secular activities but unfortunately that’s nearly impossible these days.

    Great advice Susan. If I could give one little advice, slow down. Just slow down for the day. Don’t do anything at a hurried pace.

    • #11
    • July 11, 2019, at 7:36 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    G-d also said that animals are to rest. Exodus 23:12:

    Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your ass may have rest, and the son of your bondmaid, and the alien, may be refreshed.

    Also, the land. Exodus 23:11:

    …but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild beasts may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.

    In Thought Contagion, Aaron Lynch suggests that ideas are viruses that live or die based on how well their hosts (our minds) transmit them. He callse these memes and points out that they often travel in groups, perhaps most especially in religious. He posits that the Sunday day of rest was strongly held and resulted in longer lives and healthier offspring. And as @9thdistrictneighbor points out, healthier land. 

    I mention this not to disparage religion/belief in any way but to point out that good ideas are something we rightly hang onto. 

    Epiphanies and inspiration happen when we are quiet – and speaking of inspiration, under normal circumstances we sigh or make a ‘larger inspiratory effort’ every few minutes; even our lungs require variation to keep doing what they do best. 

    • #12
    • July 11, 2019, at 9:17 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Manny (View Comment):
    Great advice Susan. If I could give one little advice, slow down. Just slow down for the day. Don’t do anything at a hurried pace.

    A very fine suggestion, Manny. And I’m glad you do your best to honor that day, since it really is a gift.

    • #13
    • July 12, 2019, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    TBA (View Comment):
    I mention this not to disparage religion/belief in any way but to point out that good ideas are something we rightly hang onto. 

    Excellent points, TBA. And remember I directed this suggestion to non-religious people, too. And the Sabbath is a fine idea!

    • #14
    • July 12, 2019, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. ParisParamus Member

    I don’t usually usually keep a 100% kosher Sabbath—I’m writing this post, to take but one example. But when I Have done so, the experience has been profound and often, memorable. And yes, as someone mentioned above, the key is to view the Sabbath as what it makes possible, not an ensemble of deprivations.

     

     

     

     

     

    • #15
    • July 13, 2019, at 3:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. DavidBSable Coolidge

    The nice thing about the Jewish law and the Christian interpretation of Jewish Messianics and Seventh Day Adventist is that there is a hard line drawn in the sand: This day, no work.

    There are some mainline Christians that saw the Sabbath shift somehow to Sunday, day of Resurrection as shown famously in the movie Chariots of Fire.

    Most Christians I come in contact with do what I do – go into the weekend without much thought and try to balance getting stuff done around the house and resting. I do like intentional times of nothing but I’ve never been intentional about doing such things regularly.

    The ones who talk about Sabbath are often pastors because it is a spiritual sounding way to say, “Don’t expect me to return your phone call or email on such-a-such day!” (:>)

    Good thoughts. Wondering if I need to read something or do something to make Sabbath more intentional.

    • #16
    • July 14, 2019, at 12:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DavidBSable (View Comment):
    Abraham Joshua Heschel said the following in his book, The Sabbath:

    This book doesn’t so much address the practical steps, but the spiritual ones, @davidbsable.

    For me, turning off the computer, cellphone and not answering the landline are key. I think committing to a modest change is the best way to go, because too much cutting sets you up for disappointment and frustration. I also complete shopping before sunset on Friday. Also, lighting the candles on Friday night sets the stage for me.

    Over time, I’ve felt my sense of Sabbath and G-d deepening. They both grow on you! ;-)

    • #17
    • July 14, 2019, at 1:03 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. John Park Member

    The ones we cheat are ourselves. True that @susanquinn

    • #18
    • July 15, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 2 likes