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  • Zack Bodner

Honor and respect Shabbat

While I was working from home during COVID, my days began to look a lot like my nights. My weeks began blurring together. And suddenly my weekdays began to look no different from my weekends. A New Yorker cartoon nailed it, showing a man at an overflowing desk next to his bed, asking his wife, “I can’t remember anymore – am I working from home or living at work?” During this period when our spaces became undifferentiated, it became even more important to differentiate our time. For me, that eventually meant honoring Shabbat in a way I hadn’t before. It meant turning off my computer and having a day away from work once a week. It meant leaving the screens aside for 24 hours. It meant stepping away from my workspace in my house on Friday night and Saturday. It wasn’t always easy. Often if I didn’t have anything to do on a Saturday I’d wander over to my desk to fire up my laptop, and I had to consciously stop myself from turning it on. But ultimately, that time carved out from the rest of the week became sacred for me. I didn’t go to synagogue. I didn’t pray. But I made that time holy and it saved me from feeling like I was constantly working with no reprieve. I saw the true value of Shabbat and came to understand what Abraham Joshua Heschel meant when he said Shabbat ought to be a cathedral in time.

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