March 23, 2019

The Sabbath Manifesto

“March is a month that celebrates quiet. From sundown on March 1 to sundown the next day, people in the US celebrated the National Day of Unplugging. Just days later on the other side of the world, on March 7, Balinese people celebrated the new year by observing Nyepi, a day of silence.

As social media and other tech offerings grow ever more pervasive, and eat up more of our time, the thought of days dedicated entirely to unplugging is particularly appealing.

Thankfully, there are tried-and-tested models for how to unplug, such as the Jewish tradition that inspired the National Day of Unplugging: the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is, in Judaism, the day of rest and contemplation. It corresponds to the seventh day of the week—the day when, according to the Book of Genesis, God rested after creating the world. On this day, which Jewish people observe from Friday evening to Saturday evening, one is supposed to abstain from work to dedicate time to prayer and meditation. Some Christians, too, observe a similar abstention from work on Sunday, but the Sabbath is characteristically a Jewish prerogative.”

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