Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bamidbar Too

When The Jewish People travelled in the desert, we're told - (Bamidbar 2:17) - that "the way they rested (the order they camped in) was the way they moved (the same formation)." Rabbi Abraham Twerski broadens the application of this statement in the following manner. The way they rested spilled over into the way they moved forward. If their rest was spiritual, then their moving forward was spiritual too.

This applies to us in regard to Shabbos; the way we rest is the way we move. The flavor of our rest carries over and colorizes the way we transition into the week. If our Shabbos is a day of spiritual, not just physical rest, then we reap a spiritual surge into the week.

Shabbos is meant to spill over into our lives. It is a day of rest. Besides everything, Shabbos models for us the idea of a holy break. This is something that would serve anyone well on any day.

Taking a walk, playing/listening to music, exercising, reading, writing, conversing - these can all be sacred activities. The concept of leisure for leisure's sake is hard to rationalize in Judaism. The idea of down time that propels us upwards is a different story. The concept of how we rest leading into how we move onward a prominent concept in our tradition.

This is the idea behind the idea of Shemittah, a Sabbatical year. That year is meant to provide a break which invigorates when we move back into the long haul of "real life." Perhaps the reason why Shmittah is associated with Har Sinai is because it is meant to be like a year on that holy mountain, which we descend from with a holy glow of energy.

May we each be blessed with consistent spiritual pauses that allow us to proceed with sanctity.

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