Contrary to popular opinion “keeping shabbat (the sabbath)” is only ¼ of what God had in mind when he invented shabbat. In actuality there are 4 categories through which we celebrate shabbat each week, all of which are equally important and uplifting. The 4 categories are:
- Oneg Shabbat – Enjoying Shabbat
- Kavod Shabbat – Making Shabbat Great or Important
- Zchirat Shabbat – Remembering Shabbat
- Shmirat Shabbat – Keeping Shabbat
Ideally a person should embody each of these categories each week in order to properly celebrate and experience shabbat, however, as we know many people lose sight of what is really important and focus on those things which are easiest to accomplish, those things with specific guidelines and structure which are black and white and one can easily evaluate whether or not they are doing it properly. They often neglect those things which are more spiritual or emotional and which do not have such specific guidelines. Over the next few shabbatot I hope to spend some time on each of the 4 categories, this week being Oneg Shabbat or enjoying shabbat.
The Prophet Yishayu (Isaiah 58:13) tells us, “וְקָרָאתָ לַשַּׁבָּת עֹנֶג, לִקְדוֹשׁ יְהוָה – if you call shabbat enjoyable, in order to connect with God” he is referring to the root purpose of shabbat to take a step back from our day-to-day lives and enjoy this special day. Whatever that may mean, spending time with friends or family, reading a good book, playing games, meditating, etc. Whatever it is that you do to enjoy shabbat. This is one of the four pillars that makes up a complete shabbat experience and lead to a better connection to God and our Judaism. We must strive to accomplish it.
God wants us to enjoy his world, that is why he created it, and that is why shabbat comes at the end of His creation, so we can bask in its beauty and the beauty of the world. Tonight and tomorrow take the opportunity to enjoy shabbat, take a step back from the week, take in the holiness and special nature of the day and enjoy the world that God created.
Disclaimer: Of course each of the pillars must be utilized in concert with the others, this means that enjoying shabbat cannot go against keeping, remembering or honoring it…but we will get to that later.