I’ve always understood the Sabbath’s primary purpose as recognizing G-d as the Creator of the world. That is the theme of the sacred text of the Kiddush, the prayer recited prior to both Friday night dinner and Saturday lunch. And that is why we are commanded to refrain from doing work on the Sabbath (the definition of work as defined by the Bible, explained by the Rabbis). This Shabbat (Hebrew word for Sabbath), I read a book that made me focus on a different theme of Shabbat, that of connecting to one’s soul. It is not that this Shabbat theme was never mentioned before, I have always found my refraining from watching TV (and later in my life, going on social media), as quite a good way for me to enter into a more reflective, introspective, and soul-connected mode.
But if we were indeed put on this Earth to connect to the purpose of our soul, and NOT to be overly caught up in the world of the material, why isn’t this challenging feat more forefront in the theme of the weekly Shabbat? Why does not the Kiddush prayer reflect this yearning of our soul? That extra reminder of the Day’s purpose would certainly help, in my humble opinion.
For I see the refraining from work, not only as a way of acknowledging G-d as Creator, but also as a mode in which we quiet our physical selves, our material pursuits, such that we can have greater access to our soul.
Which is why I have now come to think of Shabbat as “Soul Awareness Day.”