Why Your ‘Digital Shabbat’ Will Fail


“Rest” also means that decompression is the main purpose of Shabbat, such as spiritual massage. But if your relaxation is the goal, you may not be able to stick to your Shabbat observance rules on the days you find it most difficult, or you already know that your prefrontal cortex can represent dopamine beats, or a constant view of Instagram Stories is what it is. they will to calm down.

Rules made by you, for you, are easy to bend, so “no phone calls at all” are “no social networking sites,” and “someday” morphs being “one hour.” If Shabbat is due to the growth of your mind, in other words, you can throw away almost anything that makes you as happy as the Jews call it. One weekin the modern spirit, even the thing – excessively watching TV, flipping a few WhatsApp links, or stepping into Reddit – can make you wonder over time.

But if Shabbat is not designed to keep your mind active, then what is it? Here is a problem that cannot be solved by trying to distrust the practice. Orthodox Jews do not keep Shabbat as a way to spend more time with their families or to avoid the exhaustion caused by living under the tyranny of modern capitalism or clinging to Zuckerberg once a week. The Sabbath they do allowing us to do those things, and it is a very useful tool for the above. But no, we do this for an unchanging, simple, very frightening way: because God told us to do so. The Torah is usually stable and stable for some reason, but it explains a little bit why we keep the Shabbat: It is a cultural expression of the covenant between God and the Jews, a way to imitate the God who left nature. in the Book of Genesis, a reminder of our calling to be holy and sanctified. God is the center of all these things, and it is understandable that if you cut in half, the rest will rot.

As we light the candles before sunset on Friday, we commit ourselves to a higher responsibility to provide God with a temporary home, just as the ancient temple was His physical temple. We leave behind the “curse of illicit commercialism,” as Heschel writes, and enter a different, sacred place, a state of peace that can be hard to describe for those who have never experienced it. If Shabbat was designed as something you are doing yourselfeither for the sake of your mental health or for a good rest as a busy bee worker for a whole week, it is reduced to being a slave to your life Sunday to Friday, rather than being treated as the highest time.

It loses its transitory target, which means it does not provide the true liberation that true submission offers, and submission is something that allows us to reap all of those benefits. In other words, the main reason everyone is so tired is because we have been taught to always strive to do what is right, even if we have a clear idea of ​​what “good” can look like, and even if it means seeing everything in our lives. the earth as objects that could be used to do so. But listening to something outside you gives you a chance to let go.

Performed in a well-known, secular way, Shabbat becomes another tool for worldly pursuits, such as Fitbit or dopamine fasting: something to endure like cleansing water instead of sweet wine, something that is defined by its absence – like buttons. , pithy tweets, and DM-instead of filling the spirit it provides. In the well-established Shabbat, the ancient religious practice that fosters happiness, yes, and requires dedication and self-control and a great deal of practical knowledge is brought down to the same category as “DIY face, bath, and book.”, According to one health aficionado. of purity and other things, such as reaching a level of balance in the mind, achieving this often requires constant effort and self-awareness that causes us to press on “breathing” first. to try.

When the right people are online, Goop-loving, atheistic, the borrowing of religious ideas is often disregarded. In 2012, for example, thousands of Hared Jews gathered at Citi Field in New York City to “protest” the Internet, a mockery of the connected class; Seven years later, the same protesters were singing praises to Jenny Odell How to Do Nothing When you send “Digital Shabbats” tweets and stream to Tristan Harris’ TED Talk on how to make professionalism more complex and moral (how’s it going?), you’re all over the place for a week-long free mobile vacation.


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