What is Shabbat?

Shabbat is the day of rest. In the Torah/Old Testament, God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day. Thus the seventh day becomes the day of rest, Shabbat. In Judaism, Shabbat is observed from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Different sects of Judaism and different individuals have their own rules to follow.

The most strict version of Shabbat rules stay the same in my understanding:

– no work (reading is allowed but not writing, cannot sign contracts)

– cannot start a fire (thus no cooking, no driving)

– no electricity (thus no phones, tv, internet, etc, you can leave the lights on just don’t touch the switch)

– spiritual time (going to synagogue for service, personal scripture reading time)

– rest (naps and walks are popular Shabbat activities)

– community time (big Shabbat meals with family and friends, cooking is done in advance and dishes are usually kept warm in the oven or heating plate)

In recent years, more Christians start to observe Shabbat in their own form. Their Shabbat usually happens on Sunday and still consists of spiritual time, family time, rest, a break from technology.

Interesting fact since sunset time changes through the year, Shabbat starts a lot earlier in winter due to daylight saving time compared to in summer.

The sabbatical is of course related to the word, Shabbat.

Why do I want to observe Shabbat?

As a highly sensitive person (HSP), I realized last year the exhaustion from overstimulation is very real. 2020 had never ending news and I was drained after each week.

Elaine Aron, who is the pioneer of researching HSP, suggests hsp taking at least 2 hours each day and one full day each week to rest (no chores, no technology). The time is used to let our brain process information, get general rest, and replenish for the new day and week. Honestly, I suck at staying away from my phone at the end of the day. I still need to implement my rest somehow, so weekly Shabbat seems to be a good solution.

I want a pause in my week, a time I can just be in the present without worrying about keeping up with the world(I am aware that is a privilege), a time I can reflect and rest, a time I can be with my family fully, a time I firmly choose to stay away from technology and its endless stimulation.

Last year I have tried out a smaller version of Shabbat. Just by not doing my daily reading for a day, I felt much more rejuvenated after the weekend and more productive during the week.

This year I want to test out if a more full-fledged Shabbat can make me more rested and peaceful.

How will I observe Shabbat?

Most likely I will observe my Shabbat on Sunday, starting from the half-day. I want to work on increasing it to a full day. I want to use Shabbat as an incentive for me to clean more on Saturday as part of Shabbat prepping.

I will still use technology to read for fun but try my best to stay away from the internet. I will allow myself to cook and journal. I am going to avoid chores such as cleaning and grocery. I will encourage myself to meditate longer, to nap more, to take more walks.

Weekly Update

I will try my best to document what happened each week on my Shabbat. Following my journey by revisiting this post periodically.

Jan. 9th, 2021

My 1st Shabbat happened on a Saturday afternoon. I used hours looking through my cookbooks for easy recipes to cook for the next few weeks. I did not rush myself and fully enjoyed the experience. I then talked to my partner and we took hour-long naps.