With so many demands tugging at us constantly, many of us are on a perpetual search for balance in our lives. We are looking to find that miraculous state of equilibrium and harmony that can draw the many facets of our lives inward.

Six days shall work be done. But the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a calling of holiness; you shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to G‑d in all your dwellings . . . (Leviticus 23:3)

The six days of the week, from Sunday until Friday, represent the six basic directions of the three-dimensional physical universe: north-south, east-west and up-down. They represent the fundamental modes of reaching out to the six directions of creation.

But these six outward-bound directions could not exist without a center point. The Shabbat is the center point that draws all six points together. It is the axis or focal point at the center of the six directions. It reflects an inward look, representing how we integrate spiritual illumination into ourselves.

All week long, in our struggle to gain spirituality, we operate in a masculine mode of conquest and assault, in a state of restlessness.

Throughout these six days, we dominate and exert influence over our surroundings. We are in a constant state of conflict, choosing between those elements of our world that we are to embrace and develop and those that must be rejected and overpowered.

But every Shabbat, we enter afresh into a spiraling cycle of harmony, serenity, and peace. After having asserted ourselves and having accomplished our goals during the weekdays, we take a respite from our battles.

On Shabbat, we refrain from the selection and suppression process altogether, as we enter into a feminine mode within ourselves and within creation, a state of harmony, peacefulness, restfulness, and receptivity. For this reason, Shabbat is referred to in the feminine, as in Shabbat hamalkah, “the Shabbat queen,” or kallah, “bride.”

Shabbat is the source of blessing for both the week that preceded it as well as the one that follows.

Similarly, in Judaism, a woman is considered the source of blessing for her home. Our sages declared, “A man receives blessings only through the merit of his wife,” and “Joy, blessing, goodness, Torah, and protection come from the wife.”

This is because though you can have an abundance of blessing in your life, it isn’t really yours until you are able to stop, appreciate, and absorb its goodness.

On Shabbat, we can finally absorb the blessing of our previous week’s toil, as well as invigorate ourselves to continue on the new journey of the oncoming week. We give meaning to the past while we renew our energies for the coming workweek.

The woman has been entrusted with lighting the candles to usher in this holy day which is so representative of the feminine mode. Even “if the husband wants to kindle the candles himself, his wife takes precedence.” For the same reason, it is preferable for a man to recite the Havdalah prayer at the conclusion of the Shabbat, ushering in the weekday work.

With the many demands of modern life, we need the holy day of the Shabbat more than ever, to bring blessings, harmony, and balance into our lives.