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Calming the Pressure: True Shabbos rest and the art of the shoot out

By Menachem Dahan –

T.J. Oshie stands at center ice. He is slightly bent, trying to focus on the goalie, while every few seconds, the ecstatic crowd distracts him. He can see, even through the mask on the goalie’s face, that his nerves are pumping. The United States is playing Russia. At the end of regulation no side had an advantage, and as a result the shoot out commenced, and it can end right here, right now.

He’s calm and controlled, because it’s his move to make, and he knows exactly what he’s going to do next. As the crowd’s roaring gets louder, the whistle blows, and he gracefully dribbles the puck down the rink.

Time to execute.

“Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day shall be a holy day…”. In this possuk Moshe commands the Jews to rest on the seventh day of the week, Shabbos.

The wording, however, seems strange. Wouldn’t it make more sense to say that for six days “you may do work”, then “work may be done”? Also, Moshe is commanding the Jews to rest on Shabbos, so why does he feel the need to mention that for six days we work? It must have something to do with the actual commandment of Shabbos, but what?

Throughout the week, we deal mostly with the physical aspect of the world, using it out for G-d’s will, transforming it into something deeper. On Shabbos we rest, meaning, were not as involved in the physicality, rather, we use the time to soak in some extra spirituality, to recharge us for the coming week.

How do we do this? The whole week we’re involved in heavy doses of physicality, and we’re just expected to stop thinking about it by sunset Friday night? How?

It’s this problem that the Torah is addressing with the words “work may be done”.

If you think that all of the things you do, and all of the work you’re accomplishing throughout the week, comes totally because of you, then on Shabbos, you might have a problem putting it aside, since your’e totally engrossed in it.

However, in reality it all comes from G-d. We were just given the power to become a vessel for his blessings, by actualizing this potential. He has a plan that will bring out the very best in all of us. If working extra hours interferes with a Torah class, or a minyan, by simple logic it won’t help. The same G-d that gives you the power to accomplish, and succeed, also wants you to daven, and learn. Only by having this in mind can we properly rest on Shabbos. You can simply ask yourself: G-d is in control, and He commanded us not to be involved in our weekly work on Shabbos, then how can thinking about it on Shabbos help?

This lesson doesn’t just apply to the jobs that fill our weeks. It applies to everything we do. Everything we have, and do, is because of G-d. If we veer off the path He has set for us, even if at the surface, it’s an obvious gain, ultimately it can effect the bigger picture in a negative way. Nobody is perfect, but we definitely have to try our best to stick to the instructions He gives us, because it’s there for our own good, even if we don’t see it.

We are a team. G-d is our coach. He wrote up a complicated strategy, and not necessarily will we understand it all. In this strategy, we all have a specific place to be, and a specific task to fulfill, and if we try to add, or subtract to it based on our understanding, not only will it not help, but it can throw us off our path to success.

It’s our turn to take a shot. The whole world around us is loud, and distracting, and each of us have obstacles standing in the way of our goals. Every move is vital, but we’re not nervous, we’re calm and confident, because our coach gave us exact instructions. Now, there’s only one thing for us to do.


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Posted by on February 19, 2014. Filed under Jewish News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.