OK, and now, a late-breaking addition! The following question was asked in a comment:
Becca, I hope this doesn’t come out sounding horribly stupid or insulting but, what exactly do you “do” during the Sabbath? Can you light a candle? Do you sit in the dark? I’m totally intrigued here.
Lover of the Jewball,
Hello again Paige!
Here’s a fun new Hebrew phrase that everyone should memorize (don’t worry, there won’t be a test). It’s “Eyn habayshan lomed” which loosely translates as, “the timid person can’t learn.” Since learning is paramount in Judaism, asking questions is always a good thing.
So, onward. As I explained, you can “enjoy” electricity just not actually turn it on or off or manipulate it in any way. So, what we do is, just before sunset on Friday when the Sabbath begins, we set all the electrical things exactly how we want them to be for the next 25 hours. We turn on the light in the bathroom (someone will always turn it off by mistake, though – watch out for that), the kitchen, the dining room, maybe a lamp in the bedroom. We leave the air conditioning on if we need it. Things like that. So we don’t sit in a house without electricity, we just don’t press buttons or flip switches or spin dials. That kind of thing. Some people use timers to turn the lights on and off (living room off at midnight, bedroom on at 8am, etc.) but some don’t.
But, and this is a mistake that many people make, the Sabbath is not about deprivation. No, it’s actually a vacation every single week. Picture yourself in your favorite remote vacation spot. Maybe it’s a beach or a cabin in the woods. No one can call you. E-mails cannot be picked up. You can’t do work that you brought home from the office. If you’re called in, well, you can’t go. There is no TV. No radio. No video games. It’s quiet. All you can hear is the sound of your loved ones. They’re sitting around the cabin talking to each other. Maybe some are reading or playing a board game.
If you’re single, imagine popping over to a nearby cabin to have a festive dinner with a bunch of friends. You’ll eat, you’ll drink, you’ll sing. Maybe you’ll meet some new friends while you’re there.
This is really what the Sabbath is like. On the Saturday, I’ll go to synagogue in the morning, maybe I’ll take a walk or visit friends in the afternoon, read, nap, relax. There is nothing to do. I can’t feel bad that I didn’t do my laundry. I can’t do my laundry. The Sabbath is like an oasis of peace each and every week.
I hope I’ve explained that OK. It’s hard to articulate how restful and relaxing it is. But if I haven’t, try the cabin! And bring a really good book.