Returning home from a family vacation can often present challenges for parents and children alike. For parents, suitcases of laundry need to be cleaned; pets that have been patiently waiting for your return need attention; and piles of mail must be sorted and read. For children, weeks of unstructured time come to a screeching halt and the frustrations of set bed times and daily responsibilities give rise to rebellion and resistance. No wonder few of us ever feel rejuvenated after going away for a week!
But Judaism has a wonderful solution to our need for a vacation from our vacations. . . It is called Shabbat.
Shabbat presents us with a weekly opportunity to ritualize “taking a break.” Regardless of how we might choose to observe it, Shabbat invites us to step away from the chaos and the noise that surrounds us. It encourages us to find a way to create emotional distance from the piles and the mess and redirect our energy toward matters of the spirit.
As this new year begins to unfold, we have a wonderful opportunity find a place for Sabbath Peace in our lives. Of course the laundry and the mail is never going to end, and the kids will always try to resist going to bed at an appropriate hour, but if we can find a way to ritualize the quite that comes with Shabbat, we just may find that our return to routine will be an easier and more fulfilling experience.