Friday, November 17, 2006
Stop the Frenzy
Dedicated to the memory of Yehudis bas Alexander Ziskind, who enjoyed life to its fullest but also knew how to take a break.
A riot last night in Palmdale, California.
Pandemonium yesterday on the streets of Boston.
Hundreds of people camping out for days outside toy stores to be the first on the block to own a new $500 video game machine.
You missed out? Couldn’t find your tent?
That’s OK, you can still get one of these stocking-stuffers. Some of those campers were entrepreneurs who are reselling their machines on ebay. I personally saw markups of $7-10,000 (see photo below), and at least one machine resold for $31,000. (It makes you wonder why Sony decided to sell them at a $300 loss....)
When a person has a craving, it seems, he will do almost anything to satisfy it.
Question for your table: What is the solution to this madness?
There is a Jewish antidote to this human condition. You’ve heard of it, it’s called Shabbat or Shabbos.
If you ask at your table if anyone knows what Shabbat means, I'll bet that most people will say “day of rest.”
That’s sort-of right.....
The Hebrew word Shabbat actually means STOP (or “day of stopping”).
That is, in order to combat the material frenzy of this world we live in, once a week just....stop.
Stop running around.
Stop jumping up every time the phone rings.
Stop checking your email every ten minutes.
The pace of life can be so frenetic that we feel guilty taking a break. So I hereby give you permission to....stop!
Here’s how to do it. Ask yourself and everyone at your table: what’s one thing that you could stop doing for 24 hours that would take your mind away from the weekly rat race?
A businessman recently wrote me that he has stopped reading the financial section on Saturday morning. It works for him. For one day, he stops thinking about earning money. He has in fact liberated himself from a certain kind of slavery.
So ask yourself and your table, what’s one thing that you do all week that you would like to liberate yourself from? (Please let me know what you come up with.) Then give yourself and each other permission to stop doing that activity for 24 hours, sunset Friday until sunset Saturday.
Shalom means peace. Shabbat Shalom means the peace of mind you get when you stop.