This week, we begin a new cycle of reading the Torah. The Torah begins, of course, by describing G-d’s Creation of Heaven and Earth. And at the end, He rested.
G-d, of course, did not need to rest. The Almighty, Creator of time itself, has no need for time off — and given that He is timeless, above all time, it’s a non sequitur as well. But Hashem nonetheless ceased creative activities after 6 days, to model the day of rest that he would then bestow upon the Jewish People.
People operate within time, and do get exhausted. Shabbos is described in the Talmud (Shabbos 10b) as a “precious gift” to the Jews. It is a time to restore, recuperate, and refocus. Busy Orthodox professionals talk about being available “24/6” because of their mandatory day off.
And many people, including many of our readers, have never had this experience!
A few years ago, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Warren Goldstein, created something called the Shabbos Project. It’s an effort to unify Jews around a common idea, observing a single Shabbos together. Last year, it became an international effort, and it continues to grow. This year, their target Shabbos is Oct. 23-24 — you can see their website for more information, (although it is limited and omits several communities).
It is certainly not too late to participate, and if you are Jewish and near Baltimore, this is a personal invitation as well! We’d love to do our part to make this global project a success. If we can help you to find resources nearer to you, please let us know as well. Let’s not miss this opportunity for global participation and Jewish unity.
If anyone is in the Catskills for a weekend, my family would love to host you for Shabbat in White Lake, NY!