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“The Reset” aka “Shabbat”

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According to tradition, Shabbat is not simply a good idea, but a Mitzvah. The Ten Commandments say, “Remember Shabbat, and set it apart. Six days you shall toil and do all your work, but the seventh day is the day of rest.” In 11th Century France, the medieval sage, Rashi, focused on a curious part of the commandment, “Six days shall you toil and do all your work. How, he asked, can you complete all your work in six days?”

Rashi understood what we still face today: That there is simply more work to get done each week than we can possibly manage. Said Rashi, “When Shabbat comes, it should seem to you as if all your work is completed, even though it isn’t. You should stop thinking about work.” Friday evening is designed to help us perform this magic trick, to begin to act as if our work is done.

The concept of a day of rest was also alien to many ancient people. The Greeks and Romans ridiculed this peculiar tradition, accusing ancient Jews of laziness for resting one day out of every seven. But while Shabbat is called a day of rest, it would be a mistake to think of it as a lazy day because real rest is restorative. It recharges us spiritually as well as physically. Our transition from work to rest can begin as early as Thursday, which was market day. Preparation of the Shabbat meal began, and we wished each other “Shabbat Shalom.” Shabbat can free us to spend time with those we love, to savor small moments that usually pass unnoticed, freeing us to reflect on what matters most. The candles, readings, songs and wine are all here to help set the mood, creating an atmosphere of warmth.
-Rabbi Daniel Zemel

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