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A Mitzvah creates a connection with G-d -- but how long does this connection last?
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How do I rest on Shabbat?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

Library » Shabbat » A Day of Rest | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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A. We rest on Shabbat because G-d rested on this day. But G-d doesn't "work hard" so what does He rest from? G-d creates, and rest means a break from creation. Thus Shabbat/Holiday rest as defined by Halachah is not doing any of the 39 primary prohibited creative activities or their offshoots. (See What type of work is forbidden on Shabbat and Holidays?).

B. However, there are still many things you may do that get you working, although they technically are not halachah-defined work—moving chairs around or organizing your closets. In other words, you could do a whole lot of work without violating the laws of work! Thus, Shabbat and the Biblical Holidays have both Negative and Positive Mitzvahs attached to them: not to work, and to actively rest and engage in restful activities.

One of the things Jews have always done on Shabbat/holidays is study the Torah... Learn something new! Pick up that Jewish book and read it through...
C. Negative Mitzvahs #320 and 323-329 specifically prohibit work on each of these days, while Positive Mitzvahs #’s 154, 159-160, 162-163 and 165-167 all order us to keep the aerobics on the back burner, replacing them with positive activities of the more sedate variety.

How do I “rest” on Shabbat/the holidays?

1. Eat and sleep

A sumptuous dinner or lunch is a Shabbat standard and a holiday hallmark—and the more you bring it on, the greater the Mitzvah. A feast fit for kings is a sign of respect for Shabbat and/or the holiday (except Yom Kippur, obviously), markedly demonstrating the leisurely nature of the day. Taking extra-long naps and super-extended beauty sleeps also discharge one of the duty to “rest.”

2. Catch up on your reading

One of the things Jews have always done on Shabbat/holidays is study the Torah, or read Jewish books. (They are practically the same thing.) Learn something new! Pick up that Jewish book and read it through—that’s what all the free time is for.

3. Work on yourself

One of the things you’ll find yourself doing upon observing Shabbat or the holiday properly is praying a lot. Tefillah, as prayer is called in Judaism, leaves you a different person when you close that Siddur, if done properly. Tefillah works you through. But since you’re working all week, you can’t afford to pour too much energy into your daily Tefillot. Come Shabbat/holiday, however, and you’ve got all the time in the world—use it to linger over that siddur as long as you can.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » General Information » Holiday Information

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Halachah
Jewish Law. All halachah which is applicable today is found in the Code of Jewish Law.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Tefillah
Prayer. The Jewish Sages instituted three daily prayers, and an additional prayer on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.
Tefillot
Plural form of Tefillah (Prayer). The Jewish Sages instituted three daily prayers, and an additional prayer on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.
Siddur
Prayer book.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.