Today is April 21, 2019 -

The Health Benefit of Observing Shabbat

by Alejandro Wolf, D.O.

From the perspective of medicine, music is now a recognized form of therapy. Music was, however, a therapy for ages. I could even argue that thanks to the calming and inspiring effect of music, the human spirit and mind have evolved. Add music and a big chunk of time and there you go, evolution. Not only did music contribute to the flow of thoughts but it contributed to and inspired actions. Add poetic lyrics, humble chants, recognition of G-d and our nothingness, and there you have a recipe beneficial to one’s health. It also provides people with direction, self- worth and belonging. Music supports and enhances the hope that humans innately carry. It strengthens our resolution in the face of the adversities.

It is said that “it is not the Jews who saved the Sabbath, but it is Sabbath who saved the Jews.” I don’t remember the source. To an extent, giving credit to whoever said that is not as important. What is important is that whoever said it had in mind the recognition of something bigger than himself. In other words, let’s give the credit to Shabbat.

Many argue that Shabbat is the most important of our holidays. As a doctor, I see a health benefit to observing Shabbat, even if it is observed imperfectly. The potential health benefit multiplies itself if we intermittently add some beautiful music with poetic inspiration from our sages while we are welcoming the Sabbath. I implore you to consider that, in the world of symbols, it is as if we are welcoming Shabbat with decorations, with a big and special reception. After all, wasn’t that what our sages referred to when they talked about the Sabbath as a bride and as a queen? Isn’t it the reason we wear special clothes on Shabbat? Well, let’s refrain from big recognition to the musicians. Let us seek knowledge, ask for humility, be grateful, and invite G-d into our lives as we welcome the Sabbath. Let’s take care of ourselves and let’s grow. Shabbat Shalom!

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