Think & Reflect:    

 A new teacher at our school asked why all the holidays have to be so close together. We had Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah all within one month!! Believe me, as a teacher and Jewish educator, this has been beyond busy. However, the answer to why they are so close is simply because that is what is in the Torah – we are told when every holiday should come (of course, sometimes they are early and sometimes late!).  So now we have made it through and we have entered the month of Cheshvan – one of the few months without any holidays except for Shabbat which is definitely the most important holiday.  Plus we do have Thanksgiving in the month although not specifically a Jewish holiday (more on how to make Thanksgiving a little Jewish in the next JEM).

       Now we have a month to relax and truly enjoy Shabbat!! Thomas Cahill in “The Gift of the Jews” listed Shabbat as one of the best gifts to the world – a concept of a day of rest.  Therefore, let us take this gift and really explore how to make this day special.

Questions to Ponder

In the book of Genesis, the opening lines of Chapter 2 tell how G-d finished the work and he ceased from all the work of creation. It says that G-d blessed the day and declared it holy.  The word “rest” is not there. What do you think the difference between stopping creating and resting?  When do we know we are finished with a job or maybe just need to step back and take a look at what we have? Was the world totally finished when G-d stopped after the 6th day? What is left for us to do as partners with G-d?

Do & Share and A Challenge for a Week (or Longer)

There are many ways of celebrating Shabbat from following the ways of observance, going to synagogue, or doing something different or in a different way. One person once said that writing was part of what they found relaxing and a way to reflect so on Shabbat, they use a special pen.  Think of some ways to get away from the every day (and the computer/cell phone/etc.) and share your ideas with others. Make it a day apart!

Laura Seymour | Camp Director Emeritus | Jewish Experiential Learning Director
Have Questions? Email Lseymour@jccdallas.org