Is Shabbat boring?

Shalom, dear children!

Are you also enjoying the summer holidays? Although the wheather in Israel is hot, many Israelis do go out to enjoy themselves. Except for vacations there are more moments on which one can rest, like the shabbat. When G-d created the heavens and the earth he rested on the seventh day. He seperated that day from all the other days, by resting on it from all the work that He had done. You can read this in Genesis 2 vers 3. In this story about creation you can read how G-d seperated the shabbat just like a Jewish bride walks seven times around her bridegroom in order to show that he is special and her’s alone.

You could think the sabbat is boring, because you are not supposed to work on it: did you know that it means much more than just ‘not working’? Shemot (Exodus)31 vers 13 says: “surely my shabbat you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you, throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” Here we read that G-d tells Moses that He is G-d, and, that it is He who sanctifies/separates Israel from all the other nations. This text sounds as if G-d is speaking to Israel, as a bridegroom to his bride, whom He loves very much! Don’t forget that G-d loves all the nations and all people! However, He did choose Israel, and that is why she is different from all the other nations.

In Deuteronomy 5 verse 15 we read how the shabbat is connected to the exodus from Egypt: “And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and that the Lord your G-d brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretced arm: therefore, the Lord your G-d commanded you to keep the Shabbat.” This verse shows us how the shabbat, like Pesach, is the celebration of how G-d redeemed Israel from Egypt’s slavery. It also shows us that the shabbat is not boring at all: however, it is a feast on which you may wear your prettiest clothes! Of course Yeshua also celebrated the shabbat. You can read this in Marc 6 verse 2 and Luke 4 verse 31.

The shabbat is not man-made, but G-d Himself appointed this special day. However, the celebration as we are used to is full of traditions. Traditions being manmade, doesn’t make them wrong. On the contrary! Traditions can help us to realize G-d’s shabbat is so very special. For instance, the singing of the song ‘Lecha dodi’, is a beautiful manmade tradition. This song greets the shabbat as a bride.

Let’s summarize: during the shabbat we think about 1) creation, and how G-d rested on the seventh day and we think about 2) how G-d made us from slaves into free people when He led Israel out of Egypt, and 3) how the shabbat is a sign between G-d and Israel forever. These important factors make the shabbat into a wonderful holiday which returns weekly!

Noa Naor, Jerusalem

Text to remember: “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:17).