Work To Rest - 31 Days of Sabbbath : 5

There is an ironic twist in the concept of Sabbath, that stands out bold to me, a woman.

It is that to rest, one must work. One must work like mad.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing – although it may be. I’m just stating fact. For centuries, woman have spun themselves dizzy getting ready for Shabbat, and only exhaled when it was time to light the candles.

I remember this vividly from the times I acted in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Sabbath was an anchor for the small Jewish community of Anatevka. It was a sacred time, a blessed time. Daily life revolved around this weekly holy day.

But oy. The lines about the Sabbath aren’t focused on peace or blessing. They are almost always about the hustle and bustle Sabbath demands.

A sampling:
Why is she here now? It's almost Sabbath.
Out, all of you. There's work to be done before the Sabbath.
I have to go home now to prepare my poor Sabbath meal.
Come! Come, children. Get changed for the Sabbath. Hurry! Hurry with your work
Hurry up. The sun won't wait.
Sound familiar?

This is poignant to me because right now, I am in the rush, preparing to go on a small vacation with my family. And since my parents, my sister and her children arrive for a last-minute visit the same night we get back, everything must be ready before we leave.

Work. It always comes before the rest.

But I will tell you this: The few times I have managed to work ahead and prepare for the Sabbath, my rest has been sweeter, my joy deeper. There is something about investing my best - and then stopping when the sun sets, no matter what, because it is time to light the candles and say a Sabbath prayer. In that moment, the work is worth it. Sabbath is worth the work.

In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to sacrifice a burnt offering every Sabbath. It was unique to the Sabbath, a distinctive offering to be presented only on God’s holy day

All this work to prepare for the day of rest? This is my offering.


  1. Wow--I've never even thought about that, but it strikes me as so true and clear now that you say it. I know that I am more at peace on the weekends when I have done the necessary things during the week to get things done. But being consistent is a challenge for me. You're kicking my butt in a good way with these posts!

  2. Hi Kelly, I'm a new reader, and I'm really loving your series on Sabbath- I've been pondering this subject for over a year now, after reading a fascinating account of one woman's sabbath-keeping as a homemaker and mom. I love the idea that work makes rest sweeter - it's so true, and the lie that we can somehow weasel our way into rest without putting in our dues first to deserve it is way too easy to believe. It's a struggle daily for me. Thanks for this reminder!

  3. working for the day of rest is much easier if we work all through the week instead of leaving everything to the day before. One major change to work that I have done in order to prepare for our Sunday is clean house on Friday instead of MOnday. This was a mindshift. Instead of cleaning to recover from our times of rest I cleaned to prepare for. This made a big difference to me.