What is Shabbat? A Time Manifesto
by Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram as first published in Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice: Holy Days and Shabbat.
Once normal to civilizations,
The observance of holy days
Has become a radical spiritual act of self care.
Sacred time is shareware.
The only condition is you have to use it before you go,
There's no refund at the finish line.
Are you willing to say to employers,
"Today is set aside as holy,
Not to be diluted away by overdoses of work,
This time is my birth right! You can't have it!"
And what if they say:
"Take ownership of your own time?
You can't have it!
We must use your life to feed our bottom lines!"
Can you imagine yourself joining in leading
the spiritual (r)evolution with a response
that might sound something like:
"Oh, no, I won't give all my precious time to you.
We Jews build beautiful meaning-making
experiences in time,
we savor festival meals,
engage in soul refining rituals,
in order to live consciously,
we take time to reflect and refine how we act,
how we live,
how we love
and how we work.
I am writing the Torah of my life with each lived day!
I want to ripen deliciously in the sun of life,
Not race whipped to the finish line.
I have every right to experience these Jewish holidays
in their deepest intentions:
nurturing my relationships,
celebrating the journey,
rejoicing in and respecting the power and diversity of Creation."
And if they say:
"No reason to think, no need to reflect.
Feel your feelings?
You look up at the stars and express the awe you feel?
You stop to question the ethics of your own actions?
You say you're not coming in tomorrow
so you can sit with your children or friends
in a sukkah and meditate on the fragility of life,
the beauty of nature?
You're late because you stopped to
say a memorial prayer for your parents?
The work ethic is your spiritual model!
Our company is your family.
What's all this about freedom and Jews?"
And you'll say?
The Eternal Power of Torah to Awaken and Transform
Whether Reboot, or Milgram, the important source is Torah. Do we ever need Shabbat now! It is our stimulus and solace for facing the pharaohs of contemporary life - the corporations, employers, work-a-holism, e-mail addiction, lifestyles beyond one's means, this is pure teshuvah, the Jewish mitzvah of returning to healthy and holy alignment. However this precious Torah of awareness comes to you, may you be blessed to go for it! Unplug this Shabbat and, as the Talmud teaches, experience 1/60 of paradise. I'm thrilled at Reboot's many creative programs. Let's take the pledge!