DAY 895: Shabbat is a Day to Strike

December 12, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 895: Shabbat is a Day to Strike

Dear Hevreh,

As I’ve often remarked, Shabbat is a wonderful time to rest. It’s a chance to break from the usual grind of work and life to take a moment and reflect. Yet, this Shabbat I’m thinking of another kind of “break” that also comes from the root of the word Shabbat (Sh-b/v-t) meaning “to rest;” yhat word is Sh’vitah which means “strike.” In particular, sh’vitah refers to the actions of a group of people (usually workers) to STOP what they’re doing in order to achieve some kind of goal (i.e. better wages, better working conditions, etc.). What is remarkable about the term sh’vitah (especially as it relates to Shabbatis that by its very root it indicates that when someone (or some group) “strikes” the result of their defiance (like protests, making demands, undertaking negotiations) is not an action but really an in-action. In other words, for whatever reason they decide to cease from acting in the usual manner (i.e. inaction) and by virtue of that inaction, they end up acting in wholly different ways.

This is why Shabbat is so unique and sometimes so difficult to truly observe. In order to observeShabbat, one must STRIKE from the actions of the week — from the pressures of work and the rest of life — and undertake a whole different way of being. It’s the kind of being that Abraham Joshua Heschel refers to as a “day of soul,” a day in which we cease our attention of the outer world and turn our attention to our inner world.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Ari Saks

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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