February 28, 2024 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Vayakhel

In Parashah Vayakhel we’re told, “You shall kindle no fire throughout your settlements on the Sabbath day.” (Exod. 35:3). For many Jews today, it is a struggle to make Shabbat a separate day as it was intended. Although many Conservative Jews do not consider turning on electric lights to be the same as kindling fire, too often Shabbat seems like a day of restrictions rather than a taste of the world to come. Instead of treating Shabbat as a weekly Yom Kippur (without the fast), think of it as a one-day vacation from your workday world. Spend one day without e-mail, or not shaving, or not running errands. Use it to reconnect with your family, make love with your partner, invite guests in for a Shabbat meal. This is really God’s gift: every week of the year you’re guaranteed a day off from mundane concerns so that you can focus on all those things you think you’ll get to when you have the time – Torah, your children or grandchildren, or simply taking a nap. Shabbat is not a day of abstinence. It’s a day we should enjoy.

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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