Time-out: Shabbat & Sunday
A Jewish voice
The highlight of each week is Shabbat, the seventh day of creation, when Jews are to rest from the day’s work in imitation of God. The busyness of everyday life is to pause so that this day can be devoted to other things for which there is little other time: family, friends, Torah study, worship and socializing in the synagogue, resting and recharging. Shabbat does not mean idly sitting around, but the active pursuit of other dimensions of human being. Jewish tradition formulated an extensive catalogue of activities that should not be performed, so that people may find rest and also grant this freedom from work to other people and even the animals. Some Jews try to follow these traditional restrictions as much as they can, others observe only a selection of personally meaningful elements of the traditional practice and find other, contemporary, ways to convey the special meaning of the day.
Shabbat is hardly imaginable without the festive meals in the circle of family and friends, introduced by blessings over candles, wine and two plaited loaves of bread. The prayers and songs in the synagogue praise God’s work of creation, and the morning service centers on reading of the weekly Torah portion. This text is also the focus of Torah study and interpretation that day. These active phases of the Shabbat alternate with times of rest and recharging, until the return to everyday life on Saturday evening with the Havdalah ceremony, the blessing over wine, light and spices.
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#Jewish & Christian – Closer than you think?!