Sabbath Manifesto

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While you may not be physically sick every Friday night and Saturday--and, hopefully, you're not--there's a good chance of being mentally drained, both from work and lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to decreased memory and alertness skills in the short term, and ADD, obesity, and heart disease in the long term.

According to the creation story in Genesis, on the seventh day, after God completed the world, God rested. That is why Shabbat is sometimes referred to as Yom Menuchah, the Day of Rest.

And that's exactly what people do. Because the Sabbath is traditionally a day to refrain from work, it is the perfect time to catch up on some sleep. You’ll find Jews around the world taking a Shabbat afternoon shluf (nap), or at least sitting down and relaxing for a couple of hours.

Stress is also a health concern that can be addressed on Shabbat. Stress can affect your mood, and your emotions, as well as your immune system and internal organs. Shabbat is a time when things are supposed to slow down so you can refresh yourself for the upcoming week. The ancient Jewish philosopher Philo explains this further. In discussing the Sabbath, he writes: “For a breathing spell enables not merely ordinary people but athletes also to collect their strength with a stronger force behind them to undertake promptly and patiently each of the tasks set before them.”

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