Friday, March 14, 2008

Shabbat Ideas - March 14, 2008

I have been out for a while, lots has happened that I have opinions on (shocking) and it is Friday so here are my Shabbat Thoughts for March 14, 2008:

The AJWS, Avodah and others class on Exodus and Revolutions is great! Glad I am taking it. I will also report on it from time to time.
Hey HUC Students: It is time to step up! Our country needs you. (CCAR that means you too)
Rabbi Arik Ascherman is in Jail (he used to be the executive of Hillel where I went to school)

This past week we have seen a leading Democratic Governor fall into a nasty sex shunda, the presidental race go back to the race issue and glimmers of hope in the economy. But all of this is lost on me.

I was on vacation for an entire week. My third day off was during the shootings in Jerusalem and really that was the only news I really watched. I didn't watch Wolf Blitzer screaming in the situation room about Texas or Ohio. I didn't read the Times editorials on something they believe to be important. I stayed away from my Google Reader (sorry fellow bloggers.) I really unplugged.

For more than a year now I have taken to this digital soap box to rant and rave about some topic each week. On Fridays, as a way to bring in the Shabbat and perhaps give my readers (all three of you) something to think about over the sabbath day, I wrote these long opinionated and sometimes well thought-out pieces. I would think about the news of the week and then sit down and type it out. But this week, I will not do that at all.

This week I am going to talk about Shabbat as a concept. People need a break. God's rules say we should take one once a week. But we often forget to actually complete stop. The last week, when I was on vacation, I did stop. I feel better, I act better and I can work better. This is a no brainer. The NY Times had some guy write about his "Secular Shabbat" a few weeks ago and how it really helped him move forward and be more productive. However the mere fact that he wrote (and made money, hence worked) with something regarding his day of rest takes away from the power and sanctity of restfulness.

I like the idea of a Shabbat; a time to stop and think that we have something for which to be thankful is a useful tool in our world. This is partly because of our information overload. Should we stop and thank God for the creation of Coca Cola? Perhaps if that is a way to make yourself feel connected...this is a way to slow down and be thankful.

Millions of Americans crack open a Coke each day, drink it down and move on. But for this Shabbat follower, he stops and makes a statement saying thanks for his frosty beverage. I don't think that makes much sense, but hey it works for him.

(I for one will not stop to pray over my corn-syrup and brown water.)

Yet as Shabbas come to us later in these sunnier months, and we have longer Saturdays to relax, I hope I can take a vacation a little more effectively. Even if it is only 24 hours long. But it is once a week.

Shabbat Shalom

1 comment:

one of your 3 readers said...

glad you're back, i missed your posts:-)

i think that the concept of shabbat is so important. why oh why won't other people see that too? the "secular shabbat" article kinda bugged me (i read it too, of course) because i felt like he was just repackaging jewish you think that anyone reading his article will realy change their opinions because he said so...more than when i do!?

i do wonder if the "shabbat initiative" is going to go anywhere. maybe i'm just feeling...frustrated.