In the Torah, known by some as the Old Testament, we read about the mitzvah, the sacred obligation, to keep the Sabbath, to build Sabbath time into our lives. It says:
V’shamru v’nei yisrael, et ha’shabbat la’asot et hashabbat l’dorotam brit olam. Ki sheshet yamim asah Ad et ha’shamayim, v’et ha’aretz U’va yom hashvi’I , shavat va’yinafash–G-d shevat va’yinafash.
The Children Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to do/make Shabbat, as a covenant for all time. For in six days G-d made the heavens and the earth. And on the seventh day, God rested and was refreshed.
The word for refreshed, vayinafash is based on the Hebrew root letters nun, fay, and shin. Those letters re the root of nefesh, which is often translated as soul. It is the same root we find in the second creation story in Genesis, when we read: “Then G-d fashioned adam, the human being, from the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils nishmat chayim—the breath of life, so that adam became nefesh chayah—a living being.
Nefesh, then, might better be translated as life-energy; G-d breathed into adam the breath of life, and adam—formerly a lump of clay from the earth–was suddenly filled with life energy.
Shabbat is a day to find within ourselves once again the life-energy that makes us human. It is not simply a day to refrain from doing work; rather, it is a time to remember our place in Creation and to honor the Source of that creation.
In this retreat, we will learn more about the tradition of Shabbat, and explore what it might mean to build into our own lives Sabbath time, in ways that are nurturing and renewing.
 These verses come from the Book of Exodus, Ch. 31, verses 16-17.
Your Guides for the Journey
Rabbi Zari Weiss
Rabbi Zari Weiss was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (New York) in May 1991. She received training in Spiritual Direction from Mercy Center (a three-year program followed by a yearlong program in Group Spiritual Direction, Burlingame, California, 1993-1997). She was one of the founding instructors of Lev Shomea, a training program in Jewish Spiritual Direction at Elat Chayyim Jewish Spiritual Retreat Center, where she taught Jews about Spiritual Direction from a Jewish perspective and in a Jewish context (2001-2006). She continues to offer Spiritual Direction to both individuals and groups (both Jewish and interfaith), which she has done since 1994.
Rabbi Weiss has written a number of articles and chapters on prayer, Contemplative Judaism, and Spiritual Direction from a Jewish perspective. She has been a Scholar-in-Residence and led workshops and retreats for congregations (Jewish and interfaith) around the country on various themes of Jewish spirituality.
Over the 30 years of her rabbinate, Rabbi Weiss also served a number of congregations (three full-time for a total of 18 years, plus others part-time) and the Jewish and interfaith communities in a variety of other settings. In her free time she enjoys exploring puppetry, art, nature, and cooking.
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