Friday, April 16, 2010

Shabbat as a 'practice death'

From Dahlia Lithwick at Slate (to Judith Shulevitz, author of the recent book The Sabbath World):
Perhaps the hardest part of Sabbath is quite literally the unplugging. If we turn off the televisions and the BlackBerrys, something might happen, and we might be the only ones who didn't know about it. I wonder what you both think about the ways technology makes us feel connected to one another in ways that Sabbath once did. One of my favorite writers, Jon Kabat-Zinn, has described meditation as a sort of practice death. You get to drop out completely for a little while and discover that life tumbles by just fine without you. I have come to think of Sabbath the same way: as a practice death. Judith, you describe the seventh day as "God turning his back on us to occupy himself with something even more important to him than we are." I wonder if that is—forgive me the fanciful notion—a sort of practice death even for God?

5 comments:

Tim Layne said...

This is a really beautiful idea.

Matt said...

Perhaps Shabbat - real meditation too - is, on the contrary, practicing life!

Yahnatan Lasko said...

Matt,

I agree--look for further thoughts later in the week!

Tim Layne said...

"Death is not the end of life but the end of doing"- Abraham Joshua Heschel

Yahnatan Lasko said...

Great quote, Tim--I hadn't seen that before. Where's it from?