In this week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, we're given a set of injunctions about observing Shabbat. "You shall keep the sabbath, for it is holy for you. He who profanes it shall be put to death: whoever does work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his kin..."
In this week's post at Radical Torah, I use that passage as a jumping-off point for an exploration of how we, as liberal Jews, might choose to think about Shabbat... and to interact on our own terms with traditional Shabbat halakha:
Prizing work above all else is a kind of hubris. It asserts that our goals and achievements, our flow charts and to-do lists, are more important than relationships (either with others or with God). One who cares only for work may not be literally put to death, but she is certainly deadened. This text may also have literal resonance -- someone who works all the time may be shortening her or his lifetime with stress -- but over and above that literal meaning, it speaks to me on a symbolic level. Work all you want the rest of the week, Ki Tisa tells me, but take time away from worldly concerns to breathe, relax, sing, learn, connect with community and with God. This is the way to be the sanctified people God wants us to be.
Read the whole post here: A Mishkan in time.