Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sabbath and Shabbos

I just read http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/we-dont-need-a-digital-sabbath-we-need-more-time/252317/, which throws in a few quotes on the Sabbath from Jewish authorities in light of escaping digital connection for the sake of real life connection. It's interesting to see how Shabbos is viewed from an outsider's perspective and to take note when people report the phenomenon of formerly shomer Shabbos people allowing themselves the infraction of online visits and chats (most likely derabannan, but still not quite a shvut de shvut bemakom mitzvah).

What constitutes kedushas hayom for Shabbos? Is it due to the positive mitzvos we associate with the commandment of "Zachor" -- the things we associate with Shabbos, like kiddush, challah, Shabbos clothes, etc. --  or with the prohibitions we associate with "Shamor" -- the notion of Sabbath as abstaining from work?
It is possible to simply take a day off and do no work or technical melacha without treating the day like a holy one as Shabbos is supposed to be.  But the question is if  the defining principle for kedusha stems from what you do or what you refrain from doing?

Rashi points out way back in the discussion of Shabbos Bereishis 2:3 that both the bracha and the kedusha of the day can be found in in the monn,  a concept that was written in Mechilta on Parshas Yithro.  Rashi says the bracha appears in the double portion that fell before and the kedusha aspect in the fact that no monn fell on the day itself, which seems to fit with the concept of kedusa registering through lack of melacha. 


 In http://divreichaim.blogspot.com/2012/01/kedushas-hayom-of-shabbos-definition-vs.html, R' Brown points out  Rav Wahrman's take on the essence of kedusha emanating from the prohibitions. He  says that the "melachos or techumin, are part of the definition of the kedushas hayom of shabbos.  The mitzvah of kiddush is a result, an outcome of there being a kedushas hayom -- i.e. since it is Shabbos, one must say kiddush, but the saying of kiddush does not define the day as shabbos. "


Now to return to the beginning of the post, what struck me is the definition of Sabbath as a time to deepen connections with others. Really, though, it is a time to deepen connection with spirituality.  We don't abstain from work because everyone needs to relax but to bring kedusha into our lives. 

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