Convince Me to Keep Shabbat

Convince me to keep Shabbat.

(Well, actually in my humble opinion, I already keep Shabbat.)

I don’t light fire on Shabbat (meaning I don’t cook or use anything with actual fire) and I don’t work.

I just chill out.

I do, however, ride the train and talk on the phone.

In short, I use electricity.

Now, if someone manages to give me a serious, logical reason as to why I supposedly can’t use electricity on Shabbat then bli neder, I will keep Shabbat in the traditional way without using electricity.

But, let’s be real here.

How in the world is turning the light on and off on Shabbat mean not keeping it? How is using the phone to call a friend or a family member not keeping Shabbat?


Back in olden days, there was no electricity.

For example, let’s say Moses was to travel in a time machine to 2018.

Suppose he saw me using an iPad on Shabbat and whatnot.

He wouldn’t be like, “Hey, don’t use an iPad on Shabbat. It’s not allowed,” etc., etc., etc.

In fact, he’d probably be like, “What is it that you’re using? I’ve never seen such a thing before.”

Let’s say he saw me turning on the light.

He would probably flip.

He would be like, “Whoa!”

(Well, of course he wouldn’t say all that in English.  He would say it all in old Hebrew or whatever.  But you get the point.  I’m sure you do.)

Like, I know it says that you’re not supposed to light fire and you’re not supposed to work.

But then, people interpret it as to not use electricity at all?

I mean, with all due respect, ladies and gentlemen, I’m not sure if I can comprehend that.

There are other little rules as well, like you’re not supposed to carry your keys in your hand outside your home.

I mean, I don’t want to sound judgmental or anything, but it’s not as if the Almighty is sitting up there saying, “Oh, you turned on the light on Shabbat, you’re not going into the Next World.”

If anything, the Almighty is probably sitting up there, caring more about how well you treat yourself and how well you treat others.

But, back to the electricity subject.

If someone can really give me a logical explanation as to why we can’t use freakin’ electricity on Shabbat, I promise to consider keeping it.

Some of the reasons that people have given me in the past were that when I use electricity, I’m supposedly lighting up fire.

Well, what about when my phone is already on, and I use it to call a friend?  Some other reasons people have given me is that supposedly when I use electricity, it’s basically like labor, but how is it like that?

It would be more like work if I’m really hot and I really want to turn on the air conditioner, and I can’t because I’m not supposed to.

So, it doesn’t make any sense to me that using electricity on Shabbat is the same as working.

Using my finger to turn on and off the light isn’t laborious for me.

I have more strength that that.

Another thing is, even accepting that not being allowed to light fire means not being allowed to use electricity, I don’t see anything about putting out fire.

So, why in the world can’t I turn off electricity?

This whole thing is very confusing.

Is it really true?

Is this really the only way to keep Shabbat?

One thing we all have to agree on, is that we’re all obligated to be good people, that’s for sure.

With that being said, be good to yourself and be good to others and all living things.


About the Author
Anat Ghelber was born in Israel and moved to Texas when she was 13. There, she experienced anti-Semitism in public schools. She moved to New York City when she was 20. She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She started submitting articles to the Jewish Voice 2 years ago, and in her free time enjoys writing poems.
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