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A Sabbath Manifesto

Interesting idea. The Sabbath Manifesto is ten simple steps to fulfill one simple, ancient idea: on the seventh day, rest. The specific steps are behind the above link. And here’s more on the whys and whos behind the movement.

The Sabbath Manifesto is by and for Jews, but there’s nothing in it that would preclude us non-Jews from adopting or adapting it.

I think it’s a great idea. A year or two ago, I even set about to “do” a broader concept of Sabbath — rest and renew every seventh day, every seventh week, and every seventh month. I knew I could never manage every seventh year. But as it turned out, even single days eluded me because of my own inattention — and, I’m sure, because I never did outline specific action principles to follow as they do in The Sabbath Manifesto.

But we need periodic renewal (not just physical rest, but a break that gives perspective).

Tonight at sundown I’m going to shut off the computer and make sure that for the next 24 hours I don’t just engage in ‘Net surfing or DVD watching out of habit or boredom. And I’ll otherwise try to focus on honoring the moment. Don’t know whether I’ll rest (the insides of the kitchen cabinets call out, “Paint me, paint me!”), but I’ll break patterns and spend more time on being where I am rather than being (as writers tend to be) in the imaginary world in my head.

So … If you think The Sabbath Manifesto is a good idea, what 10 points would your particular version of it contain?

Somehow, I’m expecting to hear a lot of things like “spend time at the shooting range” or “clean your guns.” But seriously, what would make a Sabbath a restful and renewing experience for you? If it’s plinking, so be it. OTOH, I’m thinking that the writers of the original manifesto are pretty close. Well, except for the “eat bread” part.


  1. Sam
    Sam September 24, 2010 1:01 pm

    This will sound silly. Replace number 8 with walk on the ground barefoot for an hour or so. Not pavement, but dirt, lawn or some such. I was amazed.

  2. Joe
    Joe September 24, 2010 1:27 pm

    For me it would be to not think about anything work related, required training coming up, preparing food for shift, packing for shift, or just getting mentally prepared to return to working at the ambulance at all.

    Also add make the bread you are going to eat yourself.

  3. Pat
    Pat September 24, 2010 2:59 pm

    I’ve been doing a couple of those things, but on another day – Sunday. As many local businesses are closed on Sunday, I figured I might as well use that day to be ‘closed’ also; any necessary errands or chores are done the day before.

    I’ll have to add “light candles;” that, along with meditation (silence) and a cup of tea in the evening, conjures up the perfect atmosphere for a Sabbath. But “technology” is hard to avoid. I use a computer that isn’t plugged in to the Internet on Sundays, and write, design or study offline. And rather than connect with loved ones (family or friends), I often try to dis-connect from them on my Quiet Day.

  4. naturegirl
    naturegirl September 24, 2010 10:38 pm

    It’s been interesting to see how this changes over the decades…When I was little, a way long time & a whole nother world ago, Sunday was the “designated day of rest for people” – except most of the women spent the day cooking & whole families gathered around, so I never could understand the rest part as far as women were concerned….then there was the “turn off day” stage, when people were suppose to vegitate all day, and do absolutely nothing……and the “me time” stage, when a block of time was suppose to be set aside to do what that person wanted to do….

    I think the main idea with The Sabbath Manifesto is to get people to relearn how to live with just themselves & their own thoughts……not rush to see what everyone else is doing at the moment, aka Facebook…..maybe rediscover their own personalities during that quiet time…..

    My life is to unstructured to have a certain day/time/month/whatever… usually ends up a little bit out of each day, it varies as to what constitutes “rest & restoration” too, depends on what’s going on at the time……but the underlying theme seems to be to learn about yourself and not be so consumed with everyone & everything else – but each person will define rest and turning off uniquely…..

  5. G.W.F.
    G.W.F. September 25, 2010 6:02 am

    I would add “plant a garden”. It is one thing to get out in nature, but an entirely different experience to actually plant something and watch it grow. I ran across a quote the other day:

    “Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden” -Robert Brault

    I get a great deal of satisfaction not just from my garden, but starting seedlings and planting trees. I like the fact that long after I am gone the hundreds of trees I have planted will continue to grow and provide oxygen to future generations.

  6. CS
    CS September 26, 2010 10:26 pm

    Since my range time usually involves notes, sometimes video and always performance evaluation, it’s not my idea of “rest” even though I enjoy it immensely.

    The 10 points for me, in no particular order:

    1) Avoid technology, especially the digital variety, but also things like Teewee and other mind snatchers. (Slide rules are still ok, though.)

    2) Read. For pleasure. (I’ve heard some people still have time for that.)

    3) Appreciate. Spend time with family and friends, enjoying the fruits of my labors (the ones I’m allowed to keep, anyway…)

    4) Spend some time alone in quiet contemplation, thinking illegal thoughts and coming up with new and fun ways to subvert these crumbs.

    5) Fast for breakfast. Exercise moderately, then have a well-earned paleo lunch and dinner.

    6) Be certain to watch the sun set and the stars come out, weather permitting. (In the case of bad weather, spend a few minutes watching that.)

    7) Examine my life over the last week, the last month and the last few years and see how things are going.

    8) Laugh loudly and obscenely in the face of Our Enemy, The State, for the f**king stupid dinosaur that it is.

    9) Remember why my ancestors left their loved ones and homes in search of freedom and why they came here. Remind myself that if they could give up literally everything they had to gamble on that, I should at least try to push back a little.

    10) Avoid anything that looks like “work” with great discipline, knowing that it will all still be there tomorrow.

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