Friday, April 23, 2010

The day on which you just live

Last Friday's pre-Shabbat post was an excerpt about Shabbat being like a "practice death." In contrast (but not necessarily contradiction), Azadi from Beyond the Near suggests that Shabbat is the one day where you truly live:
I was walking to shul Friday evening. It was not yet Shabbat but I had davened Mincha already and lit my candles and consciously accepted shabbat early. I was walking down Derech Beit Lechem and all of Jerusalem smelled like honeysuckle. I love honeysuckle. I love the smell, and the flowers are beautiful, and they remind me of the happy parts of my childhood. As I passed a honeysuckle bush, I had an urge to pick one. But I couldn’t. Because it was Shabbat (for me) already and you don’t pick things on shabbat. And so I stepped back, and I looked. And it was so beautiful.

And suddenly everything was so beautiful. I stepped back and I saw a vision of the world on Shabbat… a world where you don’t touch the pictures. You don’t mess with it, you just live in it. That is what Shabbat is. It’s the day on which you just live, and you don’t touch the things that you don’t need to just live. Why touch them if they are just going to take you out of the space? Why carry your phone if it will just tempt you to try to control things? Why carry money if it will lead you to do business, or to even think about business, and worry about how much you can or cannot acquire? It is healthy, I would say even necessary, to have a day where you let go of the desire to control the world, to make marks and changes, to have an impact. Six days out of the week you have for that. One day, you can just let it go. One day you can reassess your place in the grand scheme and realize that the world won’t end if you don’t have your cellphone.

Shabbat is about acceptance. And that is rest in a very true sense.

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