|Art by Brooke Sendele|
We live out our lives in two realms. There is our inner world — our ideals and moral principles, our aspirations and spiritual goals. And there is our outer world — our actions in the 'real' world, our struggles to eke out a living and tend to our physical needs in a challenging and competitive world. The greater the dissonance between our inner and outer lives, between our elevated ideals and our day-to-day actions, the further we will have strayed from our Divine image and true inner self.
Shabbat, however, provides an opportunity to attain a degree of harmony between our inner and outer lives.
The holiness and tranquility of Shabbat help enrich our inner lives. Shabbat is a state that is very different from our workday lives, which have been complicated and even compromised by life's myriad calculations and moral struggles. "God made man straight, but they sought many intrigues" (Ecc. 7:29).
The Sabbath, with its elevated holiness, comes to restore the purity of inner life that was suppressed and eroded by the corrupting influences of day-to-day life, influences that often contradict our true values and goals. But the power of Sabbath peace is even greater. Not only does Shabbat restore our inner world, but it reaches out to our outer world. The spiritual rest of Shabbat enables our outer life to be in harmony with our inner life, bestowing it a spirit of peace and holiness, joy and grace.Adapted from the writings of Rav Kook in Olat Rayah and Ein Ayah, by Reb Chanan Morrison