The other day, a friend posted a link to a management guru’s website. Those of you who have ever looked for these sorts of websites before know that there are lots of them around, and each typically has some particular slant or hook. This particular site was no different, and their focus was on personal productivity and effectiveness with a bias towards inner satisfaction and renewal. Two things on the site immediately caught my eye.
The first was an impassioned article about how important it was for people to rest for at least one day a week. It was a fairly lengthy discussion about much more effective and productive we can be when we take this time. The same author, in a different but related posting, issued a challenge to people to unplug from work email for one day as a step towards taking a true day off. The second thing that caught my eye was a copy of a poster from a campaign for Eat With Your Family Day, which happened to be a Friday in May, 2011. It turns out that the Day is actually a national campaign from Singapore, where they have a program called National Family Celebrations that is all about strengthening families.
While all of us see the obvious parallel to Shabbat observance in these examples, I find it striking that people are finally catching on. Over the holidays, one of Rabbi Scolnic’s sermons discussed Jewish successes. A few examples are that Jews are statistically over represented (as compared to our proportion of the population) in national politics, Nobel Prize winners, and professionals of all sorts. While there is certainly not one answer to the question of why we are so successful, maybe Shabbat is part of the reason? Could it be possible that by taking a day to rest our minds and bodies, to refresh and renew our spiritual selves has a larger implication beyond the immediate rest? It’s certainly worth a try – join us one Shabbat for services, Kiddush, and conversation and see how restored and renewed you feel the next week.