Mindfulness. It’s a buzzword for the 21st century, but Jews have been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years. We call it Shabbat.
At least that’s how I interpret Shabbat—there are about as many ways to celebrate Shabbat as there are Jews. For me, it’s about unplugging, taking a break from the grind of the week. Not just for myself, but for my family. For me, Friday night is family time with my two kids, who are 8 and 11. We share a meal and spend time together. It’s just the three of us. This is our Shabbat. It’s our time to be mindful of each other and our unhurried time together. We pause to be grateful for our food, and we enjoy the sweetness of our time together.
One of my favorite Jewish philosophers, Abraham Joshua Heschel, said: “The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time.” I think this is a beautiful way of thinking about Shabbat. A different kind of lens to view a pause in our non-stop week. Just stopping to take a deep breath is its own kind of holy.
The beauty of this is that we get 52 chances a year to choose how we want to celebrate Shabbat. Every single Friday as the sun is setting, we can decide how we might welcome Shabbat into our lives. Some of you already embrace Shabbat. For some of you, it’s something new to think about.
This Shabbat, I hope you’ll take a moment to pause and reflect for seconds, minutes, or hours. Remember, Shabbat provides us with an opportunity every week to be mindful. And mindfulness is as old as Judaism.
P.S. For more excerpts from modern Jewish thinkers on Shabbat, read: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/observing-shabbat/
P.P.S. If you or someone you know is post-college and in their 20s or 30s (without children), OneTable brings Shabbat to people of all backgrounds. Whether you grew up attending Shabbat dinners or this is something completely new, anyone can be a OneTable guest or host and find or create a Jewish space in your life that’s authentic to you. To learn more, go to OneTable.org or find us on Facebook at OneTable OC.
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