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Wishing for a year of blessed activity and blessed rest

Translation by Yeshoshua Siskin 

So this is it: The year's first week has begun and it's back to the routine of daily life. Starting now, there is once again activity without interruption until Shabbat. In educational institutions of every kind, including 342,000 students in colleges and universities, and in offices and every other sort of workplace, may we all enjoy much success.

How do we prevent a descent from the summit of the holidays of Tishrei into the pit of everyday pressures and exaggerated expectations? How do we make sure that life does not become an endless series of tasks and tests?

In parashat Bereishit that we just read on Shabbat, there is a description of how even God ceased to create and rested. Rashi, quoting from a Midrash, comments: "What was the world lacking? Rest. Shabbat came, and so came rest. The work was completed and finished."

In other words, the world had everything except rest, quiet, and the quality of letting go. God taught us that once a week we need to disengage from everything outside and connect to something within.

It could not be assumed that the whole world would always accept this weekly structure. During the French Revolution, for example, those in power tried to eliminate every religious idea or influence and adopted a ten-day week. But, of course, that experiment failed.

It is especially now, as a year of frenzied activity begins, that we need to be reminded to find room within our noisy pursuits, once a week, for a day of quiet too. And to plan ahead on how to integrate this precious day into our hectic lives.

May all of us enjoy a year of blessed activity with a day each week of blessed rest as well.


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