Friday, November 14, 2008

Good Enough

In an essay entitled Thinking Shabbat, Rabbi Larry Kushner makes an interesting observation. Shabbat is created when God rests on the 7th day - that rest is like the sense of relief that we all get when we complete a big project. We let out a sigh, collapse on our couch and feel good about what we accomplished, right?

But, what was the last stage of creation, the last thing that God did before resting? It was the creation of human beings. That makes sense, right? I mean, we are the pinnacle of creation. Not so fast, says Kushner:
[People] are not perfect. We are the unstable element, the restless ones. Too hungry for our own good, covetous, oversexed, neurotic, and conflicted. But we are part of creation, so therefore, on account of us, creation is incomplete, unstable, and imperfect.

In theory, God should be anything but relaxed. After all, God just created the very thing guaranteed to muck up this wonderful world that was just created, right? God should be frantically planning the next step - how to fix what was just broken. But, no. God, instead, rests. Because, creation may not be perfect. But, creation is done.

So, relax - go easy on yourself. The week you just finished wasn't perfect? You didn't accomplish everything you wanted to? Something you did wasn't quite up to snuff? Take a hint from God. Look at what you did, declare it to be "very good," and have a rest. Enjoy Shabbat. You've earned it.

Just like God did.

Shabbat Shalom

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