The Value of a Sabbath
On the seventh day of creation, God rested.
God, the most powerful entity and the creator of everything, got tired. He needed rest.
Who among us is more powerful than God and does not need to rest?
But what is it that needs to rest? Not only do the muscles of the hands or legs. The brain, although it is not a muscle physiologically, it behaves like a muscle. Use it or lose it. The muscle of the brain needs it the most. Most of the calories we get from eating goes to make the brain work which in the process of being used gets tired.
During the day, the brain works hard. During the night, it recuperates. There is a reason than, why all living systems sleep. Even horses, fish, and trees sleep. We all do. One of the benefits of meditation during the day is to take a break. Dr. Herbert Benson, a professor at Harvard Medical School, recommends what he calls the relaxation response: stop thinking periodically during the day in order to cause the brain to rest. You must let the brain rest, or you will make decisions based on bad judgement; The data that must be processed needs more energy than your exhausted brain can provide.
On the Sabbath, religious Jewish people do not work. This includes driving, cooking, and even turning the lights on or off. Years ago, each of these activities required a lot of work. For travel you had to harness the horse and prepare the chariot. To cook or turn on a light was work because you had to make a fire. Today what consumes our energy is not the horse and the chariot nor making a fire to turn the light or to cook. What exhausts our brain is the tsunami of information that comes through the phone and the media, and we should not ignore the cost in energy that travel consumes either; You have to fight the traffic.
A Jewish person that obeys God’s prescriptions to rest on the Sabbath does not carry money in his pocket. Does not do business. Does not negotiate. Will not take or make a phone call. Will not turn on the radio or TV, nor even read the newspaper. On Sabbath, on your resting day, you make time to go to the place of prayer, hug everyone there, and wish them Shabbat shalom. Shalom means peace, to offer peace as a blessing. Take your children with you and be with them, just one day a week not dealing with problems but connecting with each other and God through prayer and start the Shabbat on Friday evening with a festive Shabbat dinner attended by all family members and spent singing Shabbat songs. Resting the brain allows the heart to open too.
When you open your heart, you can integrate yourself with your family and your community. Integrate yourself with the Creator. Realize you are not the center of the universe. You are only a part of it.
The modern world is stressful. Too many challenges. Too many opporthreats. Opportunities and threats. Exhausting. We often fall apart . We need a Sabbath, a day of total rest , whether it is on Saturday, Sunday, Friday or Tuesday.
To keep ourselves together.
Keep our family together.
Keep our community together.
Together and in peace.
The Sabbath was the greatest present God gave mankind.
And only to humans. None of the other living entities have it.
Why many of us refuse the present???
Ichak Kalderon Adizes