What Is Shabbat, the Sabbath, Really About? Shabbat is the celebration of two monumental aspects of human life:
The creation of the universe.
Our liberation as a people from Egypt—and the resulting message that the world can be liberated from all forms of oppression.
Yet the celebration is more than just a moment of thankfulness. It is, rather, a personal reliving of the creation and of the liberation. For 25 hours (from 18 minutes before sunset on Friday night until it’s dark enough to see at least three stars on Saturday night) we re-orient ourselves and change the way we live our lives.
Here is how we change: Instead of trying to control the world or exercise our dominance over nature, we celebrate the universe.
We rejoice in the physical world.
We approach the world with awe, wonder, and radical amazement at the grandeur of creation—and thank God for Creation.
We rejoice in our freedom. And we exercise that freedom by refraining from all forms of work and domination over nature.
We rejoice in each other.
We rejoice in all that is.
We rejoice in our bodies.
We enjoy sexuality.
We eat good food.
We connect with our own deepest inner places.
We learn about ourselves.
We engage in non-work related study of Judaism, spirituality, or anything else that uplifts our spirits and is fun to learn.
We allow ourselves to be alone.
We allow ourselves to be with others.
We allow ourselves to be with God.
Shabbat is a gift of love from God to the world (and from you to anyone you share this spiritual practice with). What makes Shabbat a gift of love?
Love is the permission we give to each other and to ourselves to leave the world of power and control and to enter into a consciousness of non-goal-directed playfulness, humor, silliness, sensual pleasure, mutual recognition and caring, celebration, joy, wonder, amazement, and awe. Shabbat is a particular spiritual practice whose goal is to maximize this kind of loving energy in your life.
Adapted from: Shabbat, A Personal Guide to the Spiritual Observance of Shabbat by Rabbi Michael Lerner and the members of Beyt Tikkun
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