Sunday, December 4, 2011

Turning the World Off

Once a week, I get to turn the world off. No cell phones, no computers, no television, and no iPods allowed for a 25 hour period.  It’s called Shabbes.

God made the world and on the seventh day He rested. He stopped and took stock of what He had done. And for thousands of years, Jews have been emulating this pattern.

We got our first computer a bit later than most, only in 2000. The world seems to have burst into a rainbow of media since that time with people now dependent on devices to manage just about every facet of their lives.

That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Most of the time, I’m convinced it’s a wondrous thing.

That’s why it comes as a bit of a surprise to me, how much I revel in accessing NONE of my gadgets, screens, and keyboards on Shabbes.

What I do is put up my feet and READ. I read and read and read and then I read some more.

Prior to getting our first PC, I read 5-7 books a week. I have always loved to read. Well, not quite always.

It took a few years for me to really develop the knack. I was in the slow reading group in first grade. But by third grade, I was not only reading David Copperfield, I was writing short stories. I drank in words and poured them out only to take in more. The thirst never ended.

I was sorry when I saw how media came and replaced the reading habit in my life. But once a week, I get to close it all down, shut off the world and let reading back into my life. Each week, it seems like nothing short of a miracle.

I have a cooking marathon on Friday because we don’t cook on Shabbes. Then I take a luxurious, hot bath. I put on my Shabbes robe (black velour with gold piping) and light 14 candles, one for each member of my family.

Then I get in bed, close my eyes and smile at how good it feels to put my feet up. I open my eyes and reach over to the stack of books that sits in readiness on my bedside nightstand. I feel like a queen, spoiled for choice, every single week.

 Thank God for Shabbes.

My Homemade sourdough Challoh. Photo Credit: Natan Epstein


  1. Shabbes sounds very nice, Varda. Also, thank you, yet again, for the education, this time surrounding the tradition, respect, & love you obviously have for this day every week. I learn something every time that I read a blog you wrote, but also I get to know you better with each one...I must say, this Varda has shown me her true self, no doubt. You have shown me you are a proud Jewish wife & mother, loving, sweet, maternal, intelligent, educational, & fun. You are so many things it is impossible to name them all, but I do know your religion, family & your heritage are most important to you, which is what I love most about you bc we have that in common. Btw, it is great getting to understand & learn something new with each blog of yours I read. I truly find myself looking for them now. You have that rare ability to paint an image with few words where I feel I totally get it.