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[Based on a talk by Rabbi Blanchard]

Carrying on Shabat is one of the 39 melachot (forbidden tasks that constitute "work" in an halachic sense). But why? It does not create anything, it does not change the world. One answer is, that dress and accessories send a message. The exact message is dependent on context and society. For example, if I carry a weapon, I might send a message of strength, violence, pride, power, independence, or it might be a symbol of my status.

Shabat is "tam olam haBa", a taste of the world to come. In the world to come, every day will be like Shabat, a perfect world. So our dress (and of course our behaviour) on Shabat should reflect the kind of person we want to be in the olam haBa. What is an appropriate message to send on Shabat? Or, asked the other way round, what would you not carry on Shabat because it sends an inappropriate message?

Some things we might want to leave at home in a perfect world:

  • Weapons – we are safe, there will be no wars, no violence.
  • Cellphone – we want to concentrate on what we are doing now, without being interrupted all the time.
  • Money – we don’t want to worry about money, there will be enough for everyone.
  • Planner – we will concentrate on the moment and not rush from appointment to appointment.
  • Medication – we will be healthy.
  • Jewelery – we will stop pretending to be something we are not.

What would you leave at home?

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