The Value of Rest

Vayakhel: A resource for parents.

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Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today.

Families lead busy lives. Life is filled with work, homework, sports, lessons, running a household, etc. Often it seems there isn’t a moment to breathe. A moment to just stop and say “I’m here” and that’s enough.

In this Torah portion Moses tells the people that they are commanded to set aside the seventh day as a day of complete rest. It is a day in which no productive labor is allowed, a day in which the emphasis is put on "being" instead of "becoming" or "having."
valuing restThink about your own life. Is there enough time and room for simply stopping and being with one another? Stop now and take a breath. See how that feels. Think about ways to incorporate rest into the busy life of your family. Some families choose to put aside a day of the week and celebrate the Sabbath as a day of rest. Others pay attention to the principle of the day and figure out where to find the resting moments in life.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the concept of purposeful resting every seventh day, emphasizing "just being" over having.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:   

Do you find time to rest and relax?

What does it mean to you to rest? Does it mean spending time with family or friends? Does it mean playing a game or reading a book?

Which activities best put you at ease after a day or week of busyness?

What is one thing your family could do to promote "rest" each week?

© Copyright 2009 Joyce and Fred Claar

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Dianne Cohler-Esses is the first Syrian Jewish woman to be ordained as a rabbi. She was ordained in 1995 at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is currently a freelance educator and writer, teaching and writing about a wide range of Jewish subjects. She lives in New York City with her journalist husband and their three children.