Dear reader,

In the art of Japanese flower arrangements, space is left around each of the flowers, in order to properly appreciate the beauty of every flower. The empty space is considered just as important as each flower to achieve the overall effect.

Our lives are often so cluttered with so much “doing”, we tend to forget the need for the empty space of “being”. We live in a time when many of us feel obsessed with work, whether we actually work outside the home or not, whether we work out of necessity or choice.

What role should “doing” play in our life? And as a society are we just far too obsessed with work?

This week’s Torah portion teaches us about a special day of the week when we close our cell phones and computer screens, and focus on an entirely different dimension of reality: “being.” The Shabbat reminds us to put our work life in its proper priority. It helps us to understand too that though we need to exert effort, ultimately our work is only a means and a channel for divine blessing and sustenance.

In our three dimensional world there are six directions: North-South; East-West; Up-Down. The Kabbalists compare these six directions to the six days of the week when we are in an outward bound, masculine mode of doing and mastering creation.

But there is a seventh dimension: the dot inside that holds all the six different directions in their place, without which the others would not be. This resembles the feminine Shabbat, and the feminine mode of being. The Shabbat is considered the source of blessing for the coming week and enables us to absorb all our blessings from the week.

So here are some ideas to think about this week: When you meet someone, how do you define yourself, by what you do or by who you are? What does “being” versus “doing” mean to you? And, how do you get in touch with “being”?

Wishing you a wonderful week, and a good balance between doing and being.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW