Friday, October 12, 2012

Sex and the Sabbath

I have always been intrigued by rhythms of work and rest. Being a worknik myself-  which is a funky way of saying workaholic -  probably explains why. In our culture it may sound noble, but it's actually a cruel and punishing way to live. Everyone I know is on fast forward.

When I picked up the book Sabbath The Day of Delight by Rabbi Abraham E .Millgram for 75 cents at the used book corner of my library, I did not know what I was in for. This book has become my friend and adviser.

The book describes a prescribed period of time where work is prohibited.  By God, no less. Preparations for food and other necessities are completed in advance. It is a sacred day of rest.

The Sabbath starts at sundown and ends the following sundown.  It opens with a prayer lighting of candles  fresh bread challah, flowers on a white table cloth and a home made meal. Parents bless their children and prayers are said over the Sabbath meal using wine and spices.

In the words of a Jewish sage that I read, The Sabbath is a day about being not doing. It's a day of re-charging our batteries - spiritually, physically and psychically so that we can go back in the world re-newed and refreshed.

In case you are wondering, I am not Jewish. Discovering the Jewish observance of the Sabbath was like falling down a rabbit hole for me that opened into a whole new world.  It is a breath of fresh air in a caffeinated world that is always on fast forward.

Your time perception changes and 24 hours feels like forever. One Christian theologian calls the Sabbath a Cathedral in time.  Rabbi Heshel calls it a preview of eternity.

How does all this relate to marriage? you may be wondering by now.  I googled sex and the Sabbath. I discovered that sex is not only allowed on the Sabbath, it is encouraged and endorsed.  In fact it is a mitzvah.

Consistent with enjoying food, rest, family and other delights, sex between a married couple is one of the delights of the Sabbath.  I have come to think of sex as the glue that holds married couples together. How sweet is it that sex has been a part of this ancient practice for centuries. A truly profound book on the subject of marriage for people of all faiths is Sex, God and the Sabbath by Rabbi Alan S. Green.

You may wonder what I am thinking as a marriage therapist.  The answer is Shabbat Shalom.  Have an awesome Sabbath. Go for it and your marriage will flourish, in fact it will be a little preview of heaven on earth.  I have it on very good authority.  

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