It may seem strange at first that observing the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. Do we really need to be commanded to rest? And is rest really so important that it belongs in the “Top Ten” commandments? Yes and yes.
Our work is never done. There are always responsibilities demanding our attention. Bills to be paid and commitments to be fulfilled. A house to be repaired and calls to be answered. Because our work is never done, the Torah commands us to rest, and carves out one-seventh of our life in which we are freed from all of our “doing,” free to simply “be”…with family, with friends, by ourselves and with God.
To step out of the rat race of our work lives once every seven days can at first be terribly difficult. We may feel guilty, imagining that we are being lazy or irresponsible. And so the Torah commands us to observe the Shabbat, and with that command the Torah sets us free.
- Light candles and say blessings at home on Friday night
- Avoid spending money on Shabbat
- Designate Friday night (or Saturday some time) as family time
- Come to Temple for services
- Set aside a regular time on Saturday for a walk, or to read a Jewish book
- Take a nap on Saturday afternoon (rabbi’s personal recommendation)
- Make the 4-minute havdalah ritual marking the end of Shabbat a regular habit on Saturday night