Sabbath Manifesto

sabbath manifesto

Connect with Loved Ones

The Sabbath is a day of rest, which lends itself to spending quality time with our nearest and dearest. Whether it’s family, close friends, or a partner, spending an hour or two with someone you love can be an intense, even spiritual experience, especially if you’re rocking the other tenets of the Sabbath Manifesto, like avoiding technology, drinking wine, and eating bread.

The Ten Principles

1. Avoid technology.

2. Connect with loved ones.

3. Nurture your health.

4. Get outside.

5. Avoid commerce.

6. Light candles.

7. Drink wine.

8. Eat bread.

9. Find silence.

10. Give back.

Throughout Jewish history, the Sabbath meal has been a time when families and loved ones come together to spend some quality time together. A commentary on the Torah suggests that Abraham and Sarah, the first Jews, welcomed guests into their tent every Sabbath, demonstrating the lovingkindness they became known for. Since those very first Jews, it has been a customary to gather together with close friends and family on the Sabbath.

One traditional way of connecting with loved ones is for parents to bless their children. This is usually done at the dinner table, but in many families the custom continues long after the children have left the house, via telephone, email, or Skype. There is a traditional Hebrew text for the blessings, but some families say the blessing in English, or use their own blessings, different ones for each child. The first part of the traditional blessing connects the child to a long line of Jewish heroes and heroines with characteristics worth emulating. The second part of the blessing asks for more general guidance from God. Rabbi Aharon Berakhia of Modena, one of the great kabbalists of the 17th century, wrote, “The custom of blessing one’s children on the holy Sabbath is the essence of the Sabbath Queen, and the essence of the ‘extra soul’ we receive on the Sabbath. For the blessings fall upon the one giving the blessing, as well as the one receiving it.”

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