Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) begins at sundown each Friday night, lasting through sundown Saturday. It is a time of prayer and rest. A break from the business of the week, an opportunity to reconnect with your soul, your family, your congregation or the Divine. It is a day on which Jews traditionally do no work.
Unless, of course, the Jew in question is a rabbi. One of the ironies of life as a rabbi is that many of us “give up” those religious holidays and observances which we became rabbis in order to celebrate. Part of the reason many of us became rabbis was to live more in tune with the rhythms of the Jewish calendar, to have the Jewish holidays be dates of special importance, and be able to observe them. While at some level we all know that rabbis work on these holidays, but it is fairly easy to say, “but that’s different, I want to go to synagogue on the holidays anyway.”
This certainly remains true…but there is a difference between “I want to go to synagogue,” and “I have to go to synagogue.” There are weeks when I want nothing more than a Shabbat of rest, when I can catch up on sleep and rest, yet I am obliged to head out to synagogue. I’m pleased that as Shabbat draws near to day, I’m excited about heading down to Salem for services. This week, my schedule and my spiritual needs are well synched, and I’m eagerly anticipating services.
I like the fact that there are various flavors to Shabbat…prayer versus rest; contemplation versus play. All are refreshing in their own way. I enjoy the fact that as a rabbi I have the opportunity to experience more of them than many people. Often, multiple on the same day.
Tomorrow, after services, (prayer) I will proceed to play. As many of you know, my hobby is knitting. And knitting requires yarn. For you who come at this blog more from the Jewish side of things, let me explain about knitters and yarn: as books are to a rabbi, yarn is to the knitter. There is no such thing as “enough yarn.” Going and browsing yarn is an activity in and of itself, even if there is no intention to buy. After all, you never know what you might discover. Tomorrow, I will go play, because a new yarn shop is holding a grand opening. Yarnia is opening up, and I’m pretty excited to go explore.
Yarnia is a new concept in yarn shops, which lets you blend your own yarn. You choose how many plies of which fibers and colors to mix. This is potentially VERY exciting (I do kind of already have some projects in mind that will be massively enhanced by having a sport weight yarn made from several fibers, one of which in a lace weight is used for another part of the same project). For me, this visit to Yarnia will be play. I probably won’t buy anything (I do try not to shop on Shabbat), but even just exploring it will help refresh me, and prepare me for the week to come.
May the Sabbath be one of rest and refreshment for all of us, whichever day we celebrate it on.