My Grievance Against Shabbos

30 Aug


Maxine cartoonLast week I blogged about this new fad of keeping a “Half Shabbos.” (Click here to read that article) I discussed the beauty of disconnecting from the technology world on Shabbos and learning to be still in the quiet moments.

So how can I POSSIBLY have a grievance against Shabbos? (I’m an oxymoron aren’t I ? Smile) How can ANYONE ANYONE have a taineh (complaint) towards Shabbos? Yes, Judaism has so many difficult and downright tedious laws – but Shabbos is one of the highlights of the entire religion! When the entire world works themselves to the bone week after week with no respite, Jews proclaim that a day of rest (real rest) is so important to our spiritual and physical well-being. A few months ago I found a blog dedicated to a movement called: “Technological Sabbatical” where people are acknowledging the importance of UNPLUGGING… but we Jewish people kind of figured that out about 5 thousand years ago Smile

So I ask again – how can ANYONE possibly have a grievance towards the best day of the week?

I love Shabbos – for every reason that all my friends and family love Shabbos. In fact, as a teen, going to my friends’ houses for Shabbos with their beautifully crystal and china laden table and delicious foods – it was one of the things I loved most about my religion and I knew that I wanted that in my life always.

Seeing the Flip Side of the Coin

1950s-tired-exhausted-woman-housewife-sink-full-of-dirty-dishes-~-h2867As a teenager, I saw was the beautiful table settings, the delicious gourmet food, the good laughs and company till wee hours in the morning. However, as an ADULT, I see the other side of things. I see an exhausted wife/ mother on Thursday night needing to cook her soup and shape Challahs because she has guests coming. I see moms who work the ENTIRE week with much needed respite but instead, they march to the kitchen to bake cakes and other goodies for the elaborate Shabbos tables. I see my friends who spend their entire Friday slaving away in a kitchen, peeling, chopping, cooking, sautéing making the most delicious and gourmet menus. And I see in my own life – while Shabbos is the day of rest – I hate to say it – but it often seems more of a hassle!

So now, Shabbos isn’t a day of rest, but it becomes the day when we crash because we are just so exhausted. (Did I forget to mention the entertaining, serving, and cleaning?) We always joked that for a Jewish mom, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake since we’re so used to making Thanksgiving EVERY week for Shabbos (and Yom Tov). But on the flip side, that’s kind of insane isn’t it? Making “thanksgiving” EVERY freakin week?

You’re probably wondering how I SUDDENLY came up with this issue against Shabbos … well, even if you weren’t wondering, I’ll tell you anyway.

A couple of months ago, we had a strange Friday. I had a virus of some kind, completely under the weather and was not going anywhere near the kitchen let alone stand and cook. My husband on the other hand, had a stressful week at work and had a pounding migraine and was in no condition to cook either. And that’s when it hit me. If you plan on keeping Shabbos – you can’t exactly just NOT have food prepared. You can’t exactly just warm something up in the microwave. Sorry Charlie. And that’s when it hit me. There’s no way around it. I know, many have the option of just buying takeout or frozen soup – which is exactly what we did at the time, but I couldn’t help but wonder about my friends and family who have company ALL The time. What happens when they’re not feeling well? What happens when they’ve had an exhausting week? It doesn’t seem to matter because we as a society are accustomed to elaborate Shabbos meals.

My hubby tells me that “back in the day” – no one ate as much as we do now. No one had the money for it – so a little piece of meat or fish was a delicacy! Of course, we are blessed with living in the Gan Eden of the world, with abundance and opulence with NO shortage of food. (thank G-d!).

What I’m saying is that while I love Shabbos –I can’t help but feel its completely counterproductive when we are too exhausted to enjoy it.

What are your thoughts? Do you ever find that you’re just “not in the mood” of cooking and having Shabbos?


Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Physical Health, Spiritual Health


2 responses to “My Grievance Against Shabbos

  1. shaina bodenheim

    September 2, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Hey Duby,
    I could really relate to this one, and sometimes do feel like “crashing” by the time Shabbos rolls around, but I think the operative word there is “sometimes.” I think if you get yourself into a rhythm, there are ways to make it work and not feel that wasted on a regular basis. Some things that I’ve done are: 1) Cooking ahead–I try not to leave everything for thurs/friday. Things liked baked goods, challah, etc. can be made ahead of time, which leads me to 2) Make things in bulk and freeze–if you’re making challah, potato kugel, soup anyway just double or triple it and you won’t have to make it every week. (My neighbor only makes chicken soup twice a year and fills her second freezer with it…I only have one small freezer, but still manage to get by making it just every other week.) and finally 3) to preserve my sanity and my oneg shabbos, we do not have guests every week! While we love having guests and we do have them often, I’ll either limit the number of people, or limit it to one meal only or some weeks noone at all, depending on how I’m feeling, but like you I believe in the sanctity of Shabbos and ultimately you have to do what works for you so at the end of the week you are not left with a shabbos grievance! Have a good and relaxing shabbos!

  2. mrsduby

    September 18, 2011 at 1:12 am

    hey shayna,
    i loved ALL your ideas ….
    i think the most important one of those is not having guests every week. And really being able to make a small shabbos without losing the niceness of it.

    as always i appreciate your comments so keep em coming ! 🙂 🙂

    Shana Tova – KVT,
    duby )


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