The inherent problem with classical Judaism’s view of Shabbat is that it’s a series of don’ts. Don’t do this, don’t do that. Basically, don’t do.
The idea of unplugging implies that Shabbat should be a day of absence. If so, it’s closer to being a fast day than a celebration of God’s rest after creating everything.
The Sabbath Manifesto, while offering some “dos” as well as “don’ts” doesn’t offer much in the way of celebration. Yeah, I know, it does include things like connect with loved ones, give back, drink wine. Doesn’t sound too exciting though. Maybe the problem is that the presentation is a bit soulless.
And there’s the crux of the matter. Shabbat isn’t about “not doing.” And it’s not about “doing the right thing.” It’s much deeper, much more positive. Beyond simple absence of busyness. As my poetic friend Krayna Castelbaum put it:
This made me think. The blessing of shabbos is not about “recharging,” but rather resting in the state of joy and gratitude that is our inherent nature. It exists as a sanctuary in time with no agenda, not even giving back – except for the offering of our joy, which feeds the universe (a Hassidic idea).
Nothing wrong with this list, just important stuff, to me, left out, like sing your prayers, sink into praise for the blessings life offers, pray for peace, offer healing prayers, make love, move into balance, enjoy the mystery of creation, nap…welcome your soul home.
The Unplugging folks got one thing right — separating Shabbat from the other six days of the week is important and worth the effort, and in our oh-so-busy world, in which we are so firmly plugged-in, there are too many opportunities to slip back into normalcy. Which is a shame, because the gift that the Sabbath provides is priceless.
How remarkable that we get this opportunity every week. I don’t know about you, but I routinely let my life get too busy. I get carried away by the minutia of life, and weekend time is so short and precious that it’s easy to fall back into taking care of business.
So I think that this weekend I’ll follow both the Unplugged people’s advice and Krayna’s, and truly celebrate Shabbat. If you try it, I’ll be interested to know how it went.