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Sometimes an afternoon nap is a mitzvah

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

A life of calm and tranquility is a blessing. It's interesting to note that just before Ya'akov dies in the presence of his sons, he repeats this blessing again and again. In his last moments, Ya'akov expresses disgust over haste, frenzy, and lack of circumspection. On the other hand, he wishes for his children the blessings of a restful spirit and peace of mind: "And he saw a resting place, that it was good" is how he blesses Yissaschar. Here is a story about the proper form of rest:

One afternoon Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach told his wife to tell everyone who called that he was preparing for a class. When his wife entered their room she noticed that he was resting on his bed. "But you said you were preparing for a class," she wondered out loud, "Why are you resting?" And the rav answered: "To rest before a class is also part of preparing for a class. If I do not gather my strength, the class will not go well."

We are living through challenging times. Overburdened parents need to know how to slow down and let go, harried teachers need to know how to relax, public officials and employees need to close their eyes once in a while. And so the world will become more measured, serene, and balanced, and the blessing of Ya'akov Avinu will live in us too.


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