Do it yourself Shabbat
I have been thinking a lot about Shabbat lately, and the idea of devoting one day a week to the idea of “rest,” whatever that may mean to you. While working on an upcoming project (stay tuned for more info on Shabbat 180), I found myself doing a lot of research surrounding the idea of “menucha.” In the biblical story of creation, God took six days to create the world and on the seventh day, He rested. On this seventh day, God created “menucha,” which means stillness and peace, in Hebrew. Shabbat, therefore, is meant to be a time of stillness and peace. No matter what religion you practice, after a busy week of work, school, running around, sitting in traffic, we all need one day to unwind and relax. What we do to relax ourselves varies from person to person, but one thing that we all have in common is that everyone can appreciate a full day of rest.
I began to think about what I do on Shabbat to take a break, and realized that, more often than not, my Saturdays are my most hectic days. I fill them with brunch plans, errands, family time and pot luck dinners. I see the friends and do the chores that I don’t have time to see or do during the week. The result? A great weekend, but one that leaves me feeling exhausted by the time I get into bed on Sunday night. The problem is that I would never have it any other way. Brunch on Saturday is one of my most looked-forward to events every week, and I love to pack my days with different friend-related activities. And, if I don’t do my laundry or shopping on Saturday, I’m pretty much stuck wearing my roommates’ socks and buying lunch every day for the rest of the week. But no one can go 7 days straight without taking a break…or having a break down.
The concept of creating your own Shabbat, or day of rest, came up last week when I was lucky enough to attend an amazing workshop, called “Deep Breath Baking.” The workshop, which was created by Michal Waldfogel, combines a basic “how-to” of challah making with a light, relaxing yoga class that takes place while the challah dough rises. The idea behind the workshop is that challah dough, in order to turn out perfectly, needs at least an hour to rest…and so do we! While our delicious bread was baking, Michal sparked conversation between the members of the workshop by asking us what we do to relax. In listening to everyone’s response it became clear that we all relaxed in very different ways. For some people, going to the gymwas their down time, while for others collapsing in front of the television at the end of a long day was the perfect way to unwind. Michal told a story of a past workshop participant, who realized that taking a break on Saturdays just wasn’t feasible for her. Instead, she decided to make her “Shabbat” on Wednesdays; no matter what, she never made plans on Wednesday nights, and instead booked it off as her night to relax. This story inspired me to do the same thing. Although scheduling the time to attend the workshop seemed difficult at first, the relaxing evening full of friends, yoga and amazing challah was a very welcomed break from my hectic, everyday life. I came to the realization that, no matter how stressful taking time off might be, it is always more than worth it to book at least a few hours off a week.
I challenge you to take a couple hours (or even a full day) in the next week and have it completely to yourself. Whether you spend it doing yoga, cooking, reading, or even just watching a good movie, take some time to relax and take your mind off of your busy life. And please don’t be shy to comment below; I would love to hear what you all do to celebrate your own personal Shabbat.
Check out the pictures from our amazing workshop, and a huge thank you to Michal for a fun and relaxing evening!