Yesterday, I watched a brief TED-Ed video about the importance of sleep. In the clip, the narrator explains how sleep performs essential functions in maintaining stasis in our bodies and its systems. In addition, sleep plays the primary role in moving our thoughts from short term to long term memory; sleep both enhances our overall brain function and ensures that our brains embed our experiences and learning in our memories. The video piqued my interest not only because I am a parent who extols the virtues of getting a good night's sleep, but also because I had just reviewed this week's parashah. The creation of the world as outlined in Parashat Bereishit culminates with God's ceasing the creative process and resting on Shabbat. I am fascinated by the interplay between productivity and repose, by the way rest provides an opportunity for reflection.
Shabbat is linked inextricably to the creation story. The rest that God introduces to the world on the seventh day provides God a meditative moment to reflect on the glory of the universe. In our emulation of God through our own celebration of Shabbat, we also have an opportunity to reflect on our creative work and accomplishments and on the magnificence of God's world around us. The video about sleep reminded me of the restorative power of rest and the importance of rest in defining our work. Sleep and rest make meaning of our experiences and build them into our cognitive world. On Shabbat, the rest that the Torah prescribes requires that we reflect and take a step back; by resting on Shabbat, we gain perspective and nurture appreciation for the world God has created for us and for the hard work we do daily to spread God's light throughout.
Have a restful and reflective Shabbat