Shabbos, Part IV
I’m beginning to have discussions with my son and his friends about the Sabbath, or Shabbos. Since my household has to obey Shabbos (as we try to obey all of the law of HaShem) I have a problem explaining sufficiently what one can do and what one cannot do on Shabbos. Basically, I try not to get into particulars unless he asks but here is a brief (really brief) recap of our discussions this week.
Microwaving coffee: Son, “All we’re doing is warming up food that is already cooked.” Hmmm… OK, if I were a Jew traveling with Moshe, then my argument would be, “All I’m doing is putting food on the fire to warm it up.” Immediate stoning follows that one. :-(
Son, “OK, all I’m doing is throwing a switch to start the microwave.” Again, traveling with Moshe, “All I’m doing is lighting a match to light the fire to warm the food.” OK, no matches in those days but you get the idea. Bad move.
Son, “All I’m doing is going to the Mall to look around.” My answer to that one was fairly easy, “But looking is shopping even though you did not pay for anything today.”
Son, “Are we going to start sacrificing animals now?” Answer, “No, there is only one place to sacrifice animals and that is the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. No temple, no sacrifice. G-d has forbidden sacrificing on every high place in the land.”
Son, “OK, what SHOULD we be doing?” Answer, “Those things that are pleasing to HaShem and not things that are necessarily pleasing to us. This is also covered in previous posts Shabbos, part II and Shabbos, Part III. Watching football is pleasing to us, but are we using it to glorify G-d? Playing football? Could be… If we are playing football with unbelievers in order to tell them about HaShem and the joy of serving Him. But if we are just playing to pass time, then that time could be better spent reading the bible, listening to recordings about HaShem or watching pre-recorded video on talks about HaShem. Mostly, it comes down to how much do we love G-d and how much do we want to please him. (Something taken from an earlier comment.) We can play for just the fun of football at another time on another day.
If walking in the forest is communion, so be it. Not argument there. But not at the expense of gathering with other believers on a weekly basis. We should be walking with HaShem, G-d, every day, all the time, in a state of constant communion and prayer. This is what Paul meant when he said to be in constant prayer. A prayer, after all, is communion with G-d and not necessarily bowing your head and closing your eyes. That would be really dangerous on the interstate at 60 mph.
Son, “OK, when does Shabbos begin?” At dark – most Jewish calendars have the time on Friday afternoon when Shabbos begins and when to light the candles. In winter, it begins about 5:00 to 5:30 p.m., depending on location. In summer, it could begin at 9:00 p.m. At the North Pole or the South Pole or anywhere in between, you should observe 24 hours of Shabbos. (North Pole in Summer has 22+ hours of sunlight, but it begins at dark on Friday and ends at dark on Saturday, roughly 24 hours.) We get this from Genesis where HaShem records that “This was the evening and morning of the first day.” And the other six days as well began on the evening, not at the Roman time of Midnight.
Finally, I had to tell him that I don’t have all of the answers. BUT, he has to go read the bible himself and talk to G-d about what he wants to do. After that, then come discuss it with me. After all, when he has his own home then he will have to make the rules and reason out the why and why not so long as these things are based on scripture, not what I said, not the feelings nor writings of Rabbim, not what somebody else said that G-d said.
Keep the Faith. The bottom line is to read G-d’s word and try your best to do what He said to do and not do what He said NOT to do.
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