Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: We All Need a Sabbath Right About Now

 

“Shabbat, one of the first commands Moses gave the Jewish people, remains as relevant now as it was then. It tells us that happiness lies not in what we buy but in what we are; that true commitment is to be found not by seeking what we lack but by giving thanks for what we have; and that we should never allow ourselves to be so busy making a living that we have all too little time to live. Above all, we should never be led by the crowd when it stampedes in pursuit of gain, for that is how gold becomes the Golden Calf.” — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Covenant and Conversation

Many of us have extra time on our hands that we’d prefer not to have. People have lost their jobs, activities have been canceled, visits have been postponed, vacations are on hold. Regardless of your circumstances, everyone could use a Sabbath right about now.

You may feel like the last thing you want to do is rest, particularly if it’s been forced on you. But why not take this time as an opportunity? Some of you may want to work on long-delayed projects; others may want to do their spring cleaning early or clean out the refrigerator (ugh).

But for others, this is the ideal time to just stop. We tend to let life drive us, to nudge us into taking on too much, to move us to feeling overwhelmed. Instead, why not take at least some of this time to address Rabbi Sacks’ comments above?

  • Who are you and how do you bring happiness to the world?
  • What do you have to be thankful for?
  • What can you do with this precious time you’ve been granted?
  • What small acts can you offer for those around you?

You might be surprised by what you learn—about yourself and about life.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    In deference to non-religious people, I didn’t mention the following point. For those who are religious, Jews and Christians, you could use this time to connect with G-d. Most of us probably wouldn’t leave Him out of the equation, but I just thought I’d mention it.

    • #1
    • March 17, 2020, at 8:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Old Bathos Moderator

    We have lost a sense of a “day of rest” in its original spiritual context. We live in a culture which is comprised of compulsion and compensation–we do what we have to do (or made to do) and this earns the right to do what we feel like by way or various pleasures and entertainments as compensation. 

    I think the structure of the week was supposed to be several days of sanctifiable, constructive, productive acts in the sight of the Creator then take one day for contemplation, affirmation and gratitude as prayer without which we would lose perspective about the meaning, value, and rightful purposes and spiritual context of the other days.

    I rather envy the peoples who still have feast days in which spiritual affirmation can be seamlessly blended with fun and feasting, a party that connects to life rather than a sensual escape from it. In contrast, the elaborate entertainment of Versailles, the wildly sordid performances in Weimar Germany (and some Super Bowl half-time shows for that matter) are designed to use intensive sensuality to fend off the horror vacui of spiritually empty living rather than affirm or connect to anything of value.

    But what’s wrong with a little fun? Heck, I’ve earned it after the week I’ve had. Compulsion and compensation without contemplation and affirmation is the mindset of a slave. That’s what’s wrong.

     

    • #2
    • March 17, 2020, at 9:47 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Stina Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    But what’s wrong with a little fun? Heck, I’ve earned it after the week I’ve had. Compulsion and compensation without contemplation and affirmation is the mindset of a slave. That’s what’s wrong.

    It requires a mental shift. Not everything beneficial and satisfying is “fun”.

    I was noticing this with my kids. Generally, they don’t require 24/7 entertainment if I get them away. They are capable of finding enjoyment in simple things like a walk in the woods. But still, when I propose something new, their chief concern is “is it fun?”

    I have the same problem. I focus on doing “fun” things in my down time and there’s a kind of leap of faith in taking my limited free time and dedicating it to quiet contemplation. Is this going to be satisfying? Is that the right question to ask? Is it going to ease my wearying stress? Fill my cup? Are these the wrong questions to ask?

    • #3
    • March 17, 2020, at 10:15 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    But what’s wrong with a little fun? Heck, I’ve earned it after the week I’ve had. Compulsion and compensation without contemplation and affirmation is the mindset of a slave. That’s what’s wrong.

    So very well-said, @oldbathos. Although I’m don’t follow the Orthodox Jew observance of the Sabbath, my big choice is to turn off my cell phone and computer. It is a very satisfying, soul-full time, and it’s become a special time of my week. When a person needs to use all that stuff every single day, he or she is indeed a slave, no matter what excuses he or she gives.

    • #4
    • March 17, 2020, at 11:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stina (View Comment):
    I have the same problem. I focus on doing “fun” things in my down time and there’s a kind of leap of faith in taking my limited free time and dedicating it to quiet contemplation. Is this going to be satisfying? Is that the right question to ask? Is it going to ease my wearying stress? Fill my cup? Are these the wrong questions to ask?

    I love this comment, @stina. Many people would find these practices very strange. Even for me at rare times, it feels difficult to do. But once I get started, I’m on my way. I don’t concern myself so much whether something is “right,” because I hope that G-d will appreciate my efforts; that thought alone is deeply satisfying.

    • #5
    • March 17, 2020, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Gary Robbins Reagan

    This is a huge opportunity for us to all stop and reflect and give thanks. Even during harvest, my devout Southern Baptist relatives would stop everything to go to church and not work on Sundays. They would get to bed early that night and would work like dogs for the next six days from sunrise to sunset, getting in the harvest.

    Gary: “But what if the harvest is ruined?”

    Uncle: “Gary, God has a plan for us and our only job is to know that everything is an expression of his will.”

    Bless you Susan.

    • #6
    • March 17, 2020, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    This is a huge opportunity for us to all stop and reflect and give thanks. Even during harvest, my devout Southern Baptist relatives would stop everything to go to church and not work on Sundays. They would get to bed early that night and would work like dogs for the next six days from sunrise to sunset, getting in the harvest.

    Gary: “But what if the harvest is ruined?”

    Uncle: “Gary, God has a plan for us and our only job is to know that everything is an expression of his will.”

    Bless you Susan.

    Thanks, Gary. Blessings on you for your understanding. 

    • #7
    • March 17, 2020, at 2:35 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Vectorman Thatcher

    Join other Ricochet members by submitting a Quote of the Day post, the easiest way to start a fun conversation. There are many open days on the March Signup Sheet, including Thursday this week. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #8
    • March 17, 2020, at 3:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    I love this post, Susan, and was thinking about something similar last night. I’ve been getting better about my Bible reading over the past year, including selections from the Old and New Testaments. When establishing the Sabbath, G-d repeatedly says that if His people don’t observe the rest, He will remove them for a certain period of time (Babylonian exile) to force the land to rest for several years. With our work-crazy, 24-7, over-scheduled culture, rest is being forced on us, whether we like it or not.

    • #9
    • March 17, 2020, at 4:09 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    I love this post, Susan, and was thinking about something similar last night. I’ve been getting better about my Bible reading over the past year, including selections from the Old and New Testaments. When establishing the Sabbath, G-d repeatedly says that if His people don’t observe the rest, He will remove them for a certain period of time (Babylonian exile) to force the land to rest for several years. With our work-crazy, 24-7, over-scheduled culture, rest is being forced on us, whether we like it or not.

    Thanks, Jon. Good for you on your bible reading! Yes, it is really hard at first to put aside the Sabbath; we have so many things that can get in the way. I’m always amazed as a Teshuvah (returning) Jew at the number of times that the Jews fell away, worshiping idols. And yet G-d kept his promise to keep us as his people. Go figure!

    As I’ve said, I’m not a purist about the Sabbath, but I’ve grown to love it.

    • #10
    • March 17, 2020, at 4:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Allie Hahn Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    But what’s wrong with a little fun? Heck, I’ve earned it after the week I’ve had. Compulsion and compensation without contemplation and affirmation is the mindset of a slave. That’s what’s wrong.

    So very well-said, @oldbathos. Although I’m don’t follow the Orthodox Jew observance of the Sabbath, my big choice is to turn off my cell phone and computer. It is a very satisfying, soul-full time, and it’s become a special time of my week. When a person needs to use all that stuff every single day, he or she is indeed a slave, no matter what excuses he or she gives.

    I’ve realized just after three days that I need to watch how much I’m mindlessly on my phone and computer during this quarantine. I’m okay being on them for things I need to do, but just scrolling for hours a day is not going to be healthy.

    • #11
    • March 17, 2020, at 6:03 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. ShaunaHunt Coolidge

    I love the Sabbath Day! I have felt like this is a time to take things slower and appreciate the many blessings we enjoy. I love how timely your post is. Thank you!

    • #12
    • March 18, 2020, at 7:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like