Summer M’nuchah (Rest)
August 2, 2019
By Miriam Abramovich

I love how the pace of my life shifts in the summer.

At home, the rough edges of our harried routines soften. We enjoy the gifts of time outside, leisurely conversations with neighbors, and local seasonal fruit. We rest, we linger; everything seems to move slowly as if through a haze.

At work, that summer vibe doesn’t always translate; the drive towards productivity doesn’t let up with the change in seasons. Deadlines and to do lists do not disappear for there is always work to be done. For those who are fortunate enough to do so, taking a vacation in the summer months gives the opportunity to rest and fully be at one with a more summer pace.

Judaism gives us a beautiful framework for understanding how to incorporate this kind of rest into our lives: Shabbat. We are commanded to rest on Shabbat, mirroring God who labored for six days before resting from the work of creation. Our tradition sets up the idea that we must regularly and ritually take time to change our pace, disengage from the process of creating, and enjoy that restful haze. In Judaism, the notion of rest or m’nuchah means a complete rest or tranquility, the opposite of work. We rest intentionally by shutting down, unplugging, and rebalancing. This is the kind of rest that gives the human spirit the strength to keep creating.

The summer can be a fluid few months filled with opportunities for m’nuchah. Giving us the chance to completely pause, take a break from routines, ease up on the constant drive to create and the impulse to be productive. Like Shabbat offers us the perfect balance to a harried week – a summer m’nuchah, offers a way to soften those rough edges of our daily routines, take a break from work, and to move more slowly through the world.

Shabbat Shalom and good wishes for a tranquil and hazy summer m’nuchah.

Miriam Abramovich is the Director of Jewish Engagement and Learning at the Buffalo Jewish Federation.

Summer M'nuchah (Rest) - Jewish thought of the week graphic