A Day of Rest… by Albert Celoza, PhD

In American culture keeping busy is a badge of honor. Our days are filled with things to do, places to be, deadlines to meet, and an seemingly endless list of plans and projects. The invention of artificial light extended the number of hours in a day. Thus, we can extend wake up time that requires more energy. I still remember the days when there was a time when TV stations signed off.

We no longer have time off.  Now we are bombarded with sounds and images 24/7. This is a far cry from the divine commandment from Torah – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” 

The LORD rested after creation, and we similarly should rest after six days of toil. What a unique concept from our Hebrew heritage. Rest is meant to replenish our energy and renew our tired mind and bodies.  More importantly, we are reminded that it is not just through our own efforts that we survive and flourish.

We cannot be completely self-sufficient even with tremendous exertion of energy and dedication of inordinate time. To achieve anything, we will always need God’s grace. It is a beautiful practice among our Jewish brothers and sisters to light the candle and meet the sabbath with a prayer and then a family gathering. At the Kosher House during my student days, we greeted each other “Shabbat Shalom!” and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner. 

We broke bread – partake of the freshly baked challah and had the best of conviviality after a busy week of school activities. The sabbath is a reminder of our freedom. In the iteration of the fourth commandment in Deuteronomy, the LORD reminded that the Israelites were no longer slaves but are now a free people. 

“And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore, the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” We are no longer enslaved because we have been liberated by the almighty God. Our identity and dignity as human beings are not tied to our work. We are respected and blessed. I hope that we will always be reminded of the Sabbath and our freedom. Take the opportunity to rest. Take the time to be with your family and friends. Keep faith in the flow of grace. 

Arizona’s motto  is, “Ditat Deus”-. God enriches.

Blessings,Albert Celoza, Ph.D., Executive Director
[Picture Shabbat shalom! Synagogue in the Mellah – Jewish Quarter in Morocco – Photo by Albert Celoza, 2008 “the estimated Jewish population of between 250,000 and 350,000 prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948, less than 5,000 Jews remain — Morocco still has more Jews than any other nation in the Arab world.”}
P.S. In case you missed Dr. Celoza’s lively interview with Pat McMahon on The God Show, here is a link to it: https://starworldwidenetworks.com/episodes/you-may-be-able-to-speak-knowledgeably-about-your-faith-but-what-about-confucianism-shintoism-zoroastrianism-all-the-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-religions-of-asia