Shabbat, For Body And Soul

Late there has been a spate of articles about how much people work. Those who spend more time at the office are apparently less healthy than those who work moderately.

In other words, Shabbat is a health measure.

Shabbat does not only enable us to take a day off from work. When we do it right, it enables us to take a day of from thinking about work. On Shabbat, the Rabbis teach us, you are supposed to imagine all your needs fulfilled. You don’t have to worry about that deal, or this waiting email, or that unresolved issue — it is done. The world is perfect as it is; you need not change it.

Yes, it will all return. But the break itself is necessary and healthy. Where once home was a refuge from work, email and the Internet have brought work to the home. Shabbat offers a break from the endless cycle of engagement and obligation. Work is an essential part of life, but work is not life. Community, prayer, family and food help us keep our balance in this vertiginous world. Celebrate Shabbat — it is a boon for body and soul.

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @RabbiWolpe. His latest book, “David: The Divided Heart” (Yale University Press), has recently been published.

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.