Last year, while sitting in the Sukkah together, my brother asked “What’s your goal this year?”
“More inspiration, less administration,” I replied.
The Talmud (Shabbat 89b) calculates that we spend 75% of our lives sleeping, eating, praying, and relieving ourselves. Add making a living, lawn care and oil changes and our time is fully accounted for.
While only a limited amount of time can be shifted from the ‘administration’ to the ‘inspiration’ of our lives, we can choose in which “bucket” we live.
We can view ourselves as physical beings who have spiritual experiences or as spiritual beings experiencing a physical journey. We can see ourselves as bodies with souls or as souls which descended into a body.
As a nation we view ourselves as “Shabbat observers,” whose entire week is infused with the purpose and connection the day expresses. All of our life is with the goal of connecting to our Creator, Torah and our fellow, which is most pronounced on Shabbat.
Seen in context, Shabbat lifts up the mundane while the workdays provide Shabbat with what to elevate. Caring for our bodies enables the soul to channel its energy. These are not conflicting areas of life, they are complimentary.
“More inspiration, less administration” is more of a mindset than a practice. It is a matter of how deeply I am in touch with the purpose of my life.
During the Holocaust, my grandmother along with her mother and two sisters hid in a Polish barn. Her mother would keep their spirits high by talking about Shabbat. It was always the day before Shabbat, after Shabbat, soon to be Shabbat, or Shabbat itself. Shabbat transformed her from refugee to royalty.
This year begins on Shabbat, putting our inspiration first. It’s the perfect year to choose “inspiration” over “administration.”
Whether by making more time for Torah study, lighting Shabbat candles before the sun goes down each Friday, or finding another Mitzvah to make yours, let’s use this year, which puts Shabbat first, to illuminate and uplift our everyday.
Read more about the meaning of Rosh Hashanah falling on Shabbat here.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Reach me via email RabbiMotti@JPortland.com or WhatsApp 1-503-381-7119.