This week’s Torah portion speaks of a time in which the Land of Israel is allowed to rest. “Six years you may sow our field . . . but in the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of complete rest, you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard” (Lv.25.3-4).
The balance between productivity and rest is at the heart of Jewish ecology. Both are necessary components of creation. This week’s parasha teaches that the Land of Israel requires a cessation of labor in the seventh year to counterbalance the intense productivity of the other six years.
In Genesis, we learn that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. We Jews are bidden to do the same, laboring throughout the week yet called upon to refrain from working on Shabbat.
Ask your friends how they are doing these days and chances are you’ll hear: “I’m so busy. I feel overwhelmed.” What follows is a recitation of activities, responsibilities, and plans that are overwhelming and exhausting.
Too many people work too hard too much of the time. Even late at night, when we’re supposed to be relaxing, we are wired into our mobile devices, catching up on everything we did not accomplish during the day.
Our lives are out of balance. However, every Shabbat is an opportunity to rebalance our souls, to love our families, and to reconnect to our community. Shabbat is not about doing something. It is about being at peace with God and God’s creation.
I wish you Shabbat Shalom – a Sabbath of peace.