“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” –Leviticus 23:42
The Sabbath, Shabbat, is one of the most important rituals and commandments in Judaism. The essence of the Sabbath permeates the very fabric of Jewish life. It is at the core of Jewish observance and the anchor of Jewish continuity. More than anything, the Sabbath is a sacred point of connection with God. Work is done for six days in the material world, but on the seventh, the Sabbath, Jews recalibrate their focus on God and all things meaningful.
Here are six ways you can experience the spiritual fulfillment of the Sabbath:
1. Set aside one night a week, either on a Friday night or any other night, to share a leisurely meal together with family and friends, without the pressure of anyone having to go anywhere else.
2. Spend 24 hours unplugged. For one day, do not use the phone, the computer, or any other electronic devices. Instead plug into God’s Word, nature, and the people around you.
3. Take a day off to truly rest. Instead of doing errands or chores, try to prepare in advance so that you can spend a day doing something that serves your soul. Take a walk, study the Bible, pray, and reflect on life without any distractions.
4. Create clear boundaries between work and non-work time. Don’t be a slave to work! Whether it’s a job or housework, be sure to set an end time to every day and every week.
5. Praise God for the abilities and talents that He has placed within you so that you can do the amazing things that you do every day. Recognize that without God, we could not even lift a single finger.
6. Try this exercise: Clench your fists as tightly as you can for 60 seconds and then let go. That’s a taste of Shabbat. We work hard for six days, and then on the seventh, we let go and rest.
To learn more about the Sabbath in Judaism, download Rabbi Eckstein’s free study.