Shabbat: A Time for Rejuvenating Rest


A Conversation with JWRP Trip Leader Raquel Kirszenbaum Didio

Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest. But, what does resting on Shabbat actually look like? And why is resting on Shabbat such an important part of Judaism? For JWRP Trip Leader Raquel Kirszenbaum Didio, Shabbat is the one day of the week when we can truly stop focusing on the “buts” in our lives — the negatives that cloud the positives. On Shabbat, we embrace both heaven and earth, and experience happiness, openness, enjoyment, and rejuvenation. In our conversation with Raquel, she shared how Shabbat can help us focus on the important things in life, as well as her tips for taking a break from work each week.

Why is Shabbat a Jewish value?

Shabbat is the day when G-d stopped creating so that he could connect to all of His creations. Shabbat is our weekly opportunity to disconnect from mundane activities and to connect to our greater selves and our greater purpose.

How can Shabbat help us focus on what’s important in our lives?

When we are able to stop working and disconnect from all of our daily duties, we can look inside ourselves, connect to our deeper thoughts and emotions, and spend quality time with our family. During the week, we have so much going on in our lives, and Shabbat provides a pause from the world’s distractions.

How can Shabbat’s rituals and traditions help us strengthen our relationship with our family?

In today’s world, technology plays such a big role in our lives. We are attached to our phones. Instead of speaking to each other face-to-face, we send text messages and “like” each other’s posts. On Shabbat, we take a break from all of that. A day of joy and unity, we connect with each other and we connect with G-d. We sit around the table together, enjoy delicious meals, look into each other’s eyes, and talk.

What are some great ways to introduce Shabbat into our homes?

First of all, sharing our own excitement about Shabbat will attract our family’s attention and spark their interest. It’s also important for us to share Shabbat in a language that will speak to them. If your family loves good food, make Shabbat dinner a big focus. If your family loves games, invite them to play a game of Monopoly on Shabbat afternoon. Even if they aren’t aware of it, people are hungry for family time. At first, spending so much time together may feel strange, but the more you do it, the more they will come to love it. Just be sure to focus on meeting their needs and making Shabbat enjoyable for them.

What are some tips for taking a break from work?

Sometimes, we feel like if we don’t work, the whole world will collapse. But then we take a break from work and realize that the world didn’t collapse after all. This can make us feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders. We can start slowly — by checking our email once a day instead of five times, for example. Giving ourselves a day away from work is an investment. Experiencing the mini vacation that Shabbat provides each week is refreshing and allows us to return to work with a better mindset. At the end of the day, most of us work in order to support our families and our future. But we often forget to stop working and give ourselves the time to enjoy our families. When we experience Shabbat, we give ourselves that gift every week.

How can celebrating Shabbat impact the world around us?

When you’re in a dark place and you light a candle, the fire will light up that dark place. Our positive actions reverberate and create goodness in the world. By living a life filled with consciousness, we can grow and bring consciousness to the world around us. As the JWRP believes, when you inspire a woman, you can inspire a family; when you inspire a family, you can inspire a community; and when you inspire a community, you can change the world. When we celebrate Shabbat, we really can share its gifts with the world.

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