Identity, Religion

Dalet: Turning Shabbat back into Shabbat

One of the interesting things I’ve learned as the spouse of a rabbinical student is while I need Shabbat to be a day of rest where I have as few obligations as possible, Shabbat is a work day for rabbis.
Shabbat is THE work day for rabbis, the most important and often the busiest day of the week, when there are services to be led and sermons to be given and children who need Hebrew schooling.How do rabbis have Shabbat? How do rabbis let go?A congregant of Suzie’s who is preparing for an important life-cycle event recently said that she was trying to make sure the event doesn’t become just another item on the to-do list, to make sure that she really experiences the event fully.Suzie has found this bit of wisdom particularly useful as she prepares for ordination. There is a tension between preparing logistically and preparing spiritually, the same tension between doing and being we try to deal with on Friday night and on Havdallah. The week is for doing, and Shabbat is for being.
But life is not always so neat! Sometimes we find ourselves having a Shabbat moment during a Thursday evening yoga class, and sometimes we end up rushing to Shabbat services despite our best and most grounded intentions. It’s not easy to prepare oneself to be ordained, even after six years of rabbinical school.
Maybe Shabbat is also about just taking a moment to recognize the tension between doing and being. Maybe it’s about appreciating the wisdom in conversations with friends and congregants. Maybe rabbi Shabbat is when rabbis take a moment to appreciate and savor what they learn from their congregants.
I don’t know. Suzie’s not quite ordained yet.

One thought on “Dalet: Turning Shabbat back into Shabbat

  1. Remember that traditionally we are supposed to remember Shabbat every day. The recitation of the “psalm of the day” begins with the words “This is the First/Second/Third, etc. Day of the Shabbat, during which the Levites would recite the following in the Temple.”

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