Shabbat Rest in the 21st Century
I just attended my first Weekend Retreat, and I want to thank you all for a most wonderful and thought-provoking time. I have a few questions about my concept of Shabbos in the 20th and 21st centuries. I enjoyed Rabbi Becher’s anecdote about walking up the 20 flights of stairs on the “day of rest”, but the irony bothers me. Is climbing the stairs more “restful” than pushing an elevator button? I understand that closing an electrical switch may create a spark that might be equated to lighting a fire. An electrical capacitor across the contacts of the switch would eliminate any spark whatsoever. And the usual remedy, a Shabbos Elevator, gives money to the Arabs. In olden times when people did hard physical labor, a day of rest, prayer, and learning Torah would understandably be looked forward to. Today, Shabbos, with its proscription on driving, exercising for enjoyment, and using subterfuges such as timers for turning on lights seems to me to be more a nuisance than a joy.