Participating in Temple life is about bringing God’s presence into our lives. In doing so, we must remember that Jewish values always guide our efforts. This week, in the last weekly Torah portion of the Book of Exodus, Vayak’heil, Moses reminds the Israelites that “On six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Eternal…” (Ex. 35:2). Even as the Israelites do the most important work of building a sanctuary that will allow God’s presence to dwell among them, the day of rest must still be observed.
Our time on Shabbat shouldn’t be directed by a long list of things not to do. While Shabbat is a time of rest and renewal, it can be spent in worship and quiet meditation, or engaging in activities that will bring us a sense of meaning and purpose. Alone or with loved ones and friends, the possibilities in differentiating Shabbat from the rest of the week are endless and full of potential. May this week lead us to a Shabbat full of meaning.
Rabbi Sandra M. Bellush