Monday, March 16, 2009


Last week I had to miss Shabbat service because I got sick :-( It was weird because on Wednesday I mentioned to one of my friends how it has been forever -- thank God! -- that I was sick the last time, and there I was having fever the very next day. I think it must have been the flu. Anyway, it just pains me how for the very week we are discussing the Shabbat I was not able to actually attend the service.

I have completed my readings, though, and I have learned a lot more about this Holy Day. It doesn't stop to amaze me how the Jewish history and tradition had a substantial impact on humanity as a whole. For instance there is the seven-day-week. I always took it for granted and did not really know the origin of it. Haven't even thought of its possible origin because it is just so obvious that a week is composed of 7 days. But it got me thinking now in general: how we have the tendency to take stuff for granted, without even thinking about them.

For instance, I think most of us take our family for granted. They are there, whatever we do, they love us and -- well, normally -- stand beside us. BUT! It does not means we don't have to appreciate them and express this appreciation in ways we can. For me this is the essential meaning of Shabbat. I know it is the most important Jewish Holy Day because of its biblical relevance but I also think it has its human aspect added to it and for me it is the explicit appreciation of people we care about: family and friends. According to my readings it is part of the celebration to bless children, husband and wife, make "Shabbat Shalom" phone calls, and just basically spend the day of rest with our loved ones at home and in the synagogue.

I also think making Shabbat -- as expressing appreciation -- is not, by any means, easy. I mean, it is really not so trivial to just cut off work related things and focus on family. We are tempted to check our emails, and once we do, there could be something to fix, someone to help, something to be taken care of. Today work is not something you leave on your office desk. It requires effort to do so. Just as it requires effort to express appreciation. But I am convinced that it is well worth it and therefore we should take on the effort and just do it. This is why I love Shabbat. Because, in a way, it "pushes" me to focus on my loved ones and this is a good push. To take my time and reflect on what and who is really important.

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