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Shabbat and Vogue Magazine

Shabbat and Vogue Magazine

It seems like everyone is tapping into the transformative power of Shabbat.


This month’s Vogue magazine contains a surprise article: “How to Host a Shabbat Dinner and Why You Should – Even if You Aren’t Celebrating”.

Ariel Feldman introduces Vogue readers to the concept of resting and relaxing on Shabbat. In our hyper-busy, hyper-connected world, she notes, spending some time focusing on what’s important in life and connecting with people face to face is a powerful way to recharge.

She offers five great suggestions for tapping into Shabbat on Friday nights: disconnect from electronics; take a pause to acknowledge the end of the workweek and beginning of the weekend; spend a moment experiencing gratitude; set a beautiful table and savor a delicious meal.

Shabbat offers a chance to transcend the ordinary week and experience life on a different plane. Here are five additional suggestions for enjoying Shabbat and allowing it to transform our lives.

1. Feel gratitude to God

Vogue’s Shabbat article notes that researchers have found that feeling grateful and making lists of things we are thankful for increases happiness. Shabbat is indeed a great chance to experience gratitude for the many blessings we have in our life.

Missing from Vogue’s piece is any mention of to whom we are grateful. Judaism is rooted in recognizing that we each have a powerful, personal connection with the Divine. On Shabbat particularly, we celebrate this relationship, thanking God for the gift of Shabbat and for the gifts we have received throughout the week.

2. Connect with the Jewish Community

People who regularly switch off smartphones and connect with family and friends substantially reduce the likelihood of experiencing depression. Researchers have also found that people who are part of a community are healthier, happier and even live longer. Shabbat is a unique opportunity to connect with our wider Jewish community.

In 1938, my grandmother became a refugee, fleeing her native Vienna and settling in London, where she worked as a servant. Her only time off was Saturday mornings, when she’d go to synagogue and meet with other Jews and afterwards enjoy lunch together. Even though she was not observant, those hours each Shabbat was her time to feel part of the Jewish people, to exchange news, connect and offer support, and feel united with Jews the world over. It as a sensation she never forgot.

3. Connect with the Spirituality of Shabbat

On Shabbat, every Jew is accompanied home by two angels. Before dinner we welcome these holy beings into our home as we sing Shalom Aleichem. Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twersky notes that welcoming angels into our home reminds us of the awesome spiritual potential of Shabbat. It is not merely “a day of rest whereby we recharge our batteries for the work week that is to follow. That would make Shabbat subordinate to the weekdays, and would make work a goal rather than a means.”

Rather Shabbat “is the goal of creation. By abstaining from all weekday activities we have greater opportunity to study, to meditate, to contemplate…” On Shabbat, we can become more like angels, pursuing spiritual goals that all too often get shunted aside during the week.

4. Extend Shabbat into Saturday

Nearly a quarter of American Jews report lighting Shabbat candles on Friday night, even if they don’t engage in other aspects of the holiday. Extending this special quality into Saturday, whether it’s attending synagogue services, enjoying a Shabbat lunch, or experiencing the calm and beauty of a peaceful Shabbat afternoon, is a powerful way of bringing the infusing our day with the special holiness of this day.

5. Prepare for Shabbat

As soon as Shabbat is over on Saturday nights, a friend of mine immediately puts fresh candles into her Shabbat candlesticks, in readiness for the following Friday afternoon. “Shabbat is the center of our week,” she told me. She made sure to include plans and preparations for Shabbat throughout the week, having this special day in mind all week long.

Click here to learn more about Shabbat.

March 18, 2017

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 2

(2) Anonymous, March 19, 2017 7:15 PM

Must Read Book about Shabbos from Senator Joe Lieberman

Your article reminds me of a must read book. The Gift of Rest:Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath. This book is written for all levels of Jews and EVEN for Gentiles. It is written by Senator Joe Lieberman and it is truly a fabulous book.

(1) Anonymous, March 19, 2017 4:16 PM

Airline Magazine Article on Shabbas

A number of years ago(20-30) I was on an airline(not El Al) and the airline magazine had an article on Shabbas and how it was a stress reducer. It was an article on United, Alaska, Southwest or one of the big carriers. It was an extremely insightful article and I am sorry I don't remember the article because she really knocked it out of the base park on the benefits of having a day of rest.

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