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Benefits of Sabbath

The benefits of Sabbath observance in today's fast-paced world are many. Most people today are saturated in the mundane, living in a constant state of work between their day job and home upkeep. And when the world isn't working, it buries itself in the emotional highs of social media and entertainment. The most apparent benefit of Sabbath is the ability to unplug and have a meaningful connection with our family and community in a real and powerful way. Sabbath establishes a family rhythm; it provides a constant reminder of the Torah on Sabbath, which also carries into the rest of the week, allowing for a refresh of purpose and proper spiritual alignment. It gives the brain time to shift its way of thinking, to take the pressure off the mundane, and focus on a holy, G-dly life. There are countless benefits to observing Sabbath, but the ability to unplug from the power drain of the world and recharge through connection to the greatest power source is typically the first benefit that comes to many people's minds.

Before observing Sabbath from an Orthodox perspective, it was difficult to truly understand some of the more profound benefits that are often overlooked without experiencing them. When you get into the "why" behind the rules of Sabbath, such as 'not turning on a light' due to the relation to 'kindling a fire,' there are scientific and social aspects to consider: the examining of electrons, the delving into what exactly fire is, and how it works. How are we able to turn on lights at all? For electricity to flow into our homes, all these seemingly less significant details must be considered and examined when learning the details of a seemingly straightforward Melachot ("work" in Jewish law) that we do on Sabbath.

These examples get the mind to think beyond the surface and understand the world's 'whys' and 'hows.' This higher level of critical thinking and examination is one of the great triumphs of Judaism. It may explain why Jewish people win Nobel Foundation's Awards at a rate of 110 times their proportion of the world's population.

Science is everywhere when it comes to understanding how to observe Sabbath, from separating milk and why (biology and chemistry) to turning on the lights (physics) to planting and making holes (agriculture). These are all elements that must be considered in the study and acceptance of Sabbath observance. This mindset expands beyond just the realm of science and into every aspect of life, including professional trades. For the melachot of binyan (building), we need to understand how to build, what structure is, and how it can be done in shiuni (changed) ways.

This mindset leads to a naturally innovative way of thinking. By constantly being involved in Sabbath prepwork and observances, we are compelled to train our mind on ways to avoid melachot and think of creative ways to get around prohibitions. These thoughts can lead to some fantastic inventions (including my favorite, the Sabbath bulb).

Even in the home, we are compelled to think of new cooking methods or recipes that most people wouldn't think of. Sabbath changes you and forces you to encounter problems from a new perspective. This new way of thinking becomes a valuable and useful tool, not only on Sabbath, but in everyday life in and out of the home.

There is yet another benefit that could explain why so many Jewish people live the stereotype of being a lawyer. It gets you to constantly think from a very complex legal system, knowing the laws and what can and can not be done. This mind shift causes you to always think about life from a legal perspective. Suppose you know the law of America, which has quite a few laws eerily similar to Jewish Halacha (law). Suppose you also have been taught from a very young age how to think in terms of legal arguments, forcing the brain to think about life in general in a constant legal way. You would be the ideal candidate to navigate the legal industry.

Knowing when Sabbath ends (a constant debate in our house) gives you an instant ingrained desire to know about the stars and astronomy. You look up, and your life is governed by knowing where the stars are, when the sun rises, sets, etc. This will give rise to a natural curiosity about the natural world.

The observance of Sabbath offers a remarkable array of benefits that extend far beyond its religious significance. By setting aside a dedicated day of rest and reflection, individuals are compelled to think differently, fostering a spirit of innovation and creativity. This unique break from the fast-paced demands of modern life allows for a shift in mindset, encouraging individuals to explore new ideas, engage in meaningful conversations, and tap into their inner resources. The power of Sabbath lies in its ability to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul, ultimately enhancing productivity, fostering personal growth, and enriching the overall quality of life. Embracing this mitzvah can truly revolutionize your approach to life, inspire you to think differently, be more innovative, and ultimately thrive in an ever-changing world.


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