Studying the Sabbath

For the next several days, as we celebrate the launch of Sabbath in the Suburbs, I’ll be sharing short excerpts from the book to give you a taste of what’s there. Today’s excerpt comes from the “November” chapter of the book.

The Talmud, which is the collection of Jewish wisdom assem- bled and distilled by rabbis over a period of centuries, says that to study is the highest commandment. It’s what Jews are called to do on Shabbat. Some books even provide study guides and suggested quotations to get folks started.

I guess I am studying Sabbath each week. I study it the way a biologist might study ants or zebra fish: with curiosity and no small bit of reverence.

I study the way the sunlight crawls across the kitchen as our family lingers over breakfast with nowhere to be.

I study the hole that is forming in my leather slippers from wearing them each week.

I study the hard brown crust of the bread and the puff of steam that escapes when we cut into it because we can’t wait for it to cool.

I study the hunched forms of Robert and Margaret as they color together. When they show off their drawing later, I see the invisible line down the middle where his precise lines and shapes meet the lovely scrawls of a four-year-old.

I study Caroline’s crossed legs in footy pajamas as she reads the latest A to Z Mystery book in the corner of the room.

I study the ways I feel irritated for no good reason. I study the ways I resist breathing deeply.

Image: David Chambon, Macro Photographs of Dew-Covered Insects. Source


About MaryAnn

pastor, writer, haphazard knitter
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