For the first time in my life, I started working a 9 to 5 (…well an 8 to 4) a couple months ago. It is trade labor and very tiring at the end of the day. Most days, if I make the mistake of lying down, its over. This past Thursday I made sure to go to my computer instead, and while I did waste time on Facebook, I got a good amount of my to do list done for a change.
On Friday, the synagogue I go to had services and a BBQ in the late afternoon. I just started going again now that they have dropped their Nuremberg 2.0 mandates. There were no services on Saturday and somehow I woke up at 430am after going to sleep around 11pm. It was hours before I went to take a much needed shower, and then I lay in bed a lot longer. I felt really guilty about this as its one of my days off and I need to get things done around the house. Is it ok to just lay down and rest?
And then I remembered that it is Shabbat and thats the whole point. Its not that I didnt know it was Shabbat, its that I didnt remember it. There is a reason Hashem mandated this so repeatedly. Its easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget to rest. We shouldnt feel guilty about this. It is normal. It is necessary.
It is good to pray and come together with your community, but its just as important to take a break from the world. Mere resting is a mitzvah! This modern world puts so much pressure on us, but it was just as much an issue in ancient times. People wanted to work everyday and Hashem said “No, you must rest!”
I felt some relief from this, but I still felt guilty to an extent. I think it was more that I am wasting the cool hours of the day, but I often like to do things on the weekend. This is why prayer services and sacrifices were instituted. To keep you doing something, but a restful something. You then go home, eat lunch, and rest some more. I always enjoyed Shabbatons in college. I dont think there is a greater bliss, peace, and rest. You separate from the world and focus on yourself. It is really easy to underestimate the importance of this.
Next week, I think I will have a greater appreciation of this now that I have understood the lesson. The synagogue I go to will have services again on Saturday. I always find it long and arduous, but now I have learned why this is done. I will make more effort to truly rest on Shabbat and be grateful for it, and accept that it is ok to do absolutely nothing for a whole day or even half a day.