I feel now, more than ever, that reality (read: my ability to adhere to the srtictures I want to adhere to) is coming into conflict with my ideology and hopes for my ritual life. In Spain, I came a across a familiar problem, but gave it more thought than I had before.
On a normal Shabat, here at Drew, or at home in Austin, I mark Shabat by going to services on Friday night and Saturday morning, lighting candles, ignoring pressing homework-related matters, drinking Coke, and doing things I find relaxing.
But then there come those Shabatot which are situated between vacation days. There is no homework to ignore. And in Spain, there were no services to go to. So I was left with candles, drinking Coke, and being relaxed. Consider that I’d been pretty relaxed all week because, hell, I was on vacation, and you realize that the only things I was left with were candles, which last for a only a short portion of Shabat–and Coke. And Coke, friends, is not enough.
Which means that I’ve got a problem. It means that in the midst of an already relaxed vacation week, Shabat has almost no value, beyond the additional caffeine it brings into my diet.
The only solution to this problem that I can see, dear blogosphites, is a little frightening. If you think about the things I listed above that I do on Shabat, you will notice that they are mostly positive–things that I DO do. This stands in contrast to a traditional understanding of Shabat, which consists of a list of things that one DOES NOT do.
And so I am frightened to discover that to achieve the desired effect, I must limit myself on Shabat. Where does the limitation come from? Shall I refrain from cash? From light switches or e-mail? Riding in cars or carrying things? It is a most troubling problem indeed.