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Can You Talk Business on a Date?

Sunday, 24 March, 2019 - 9:52 pm

 

Question of the Week:

  

As you know, my wife is a little behind me when it comes to religious observance. One thing she challenged me on and I didn't have an answer. Last week I forgot to leave the light on in the bathroom before Shabbos. She wanted to turn it on, but I said to leave it.  So she asked, What is the big deal if I switch on a light on Shabbos? It isn't such hard work to flick a switch. Will the day of rest be totally disturbed by by me turning a light on? I wasn't sure what to say....

Answer:

Here's something I think your wife will relate to. 



You are out for a romantic dinner, just the two of you. You make a reservation at a fancy restaurant, a quiet table for two in the corner. Gentle music is playing, lights are dimmed, and the ambiance is just perfect for an evening of romance. 

You resolve not to talk about work, not to talk about the kids, rather to take the time to really connect and enjoy each other's company. You laugh together, chit chat, and give one another complete focus and attention. 

 

Then suddenly you say, "Oh, I just remembered something." You take out your phone and call your business partner to remind him to send a report you are waiting for. It all took no more than fifteen seconds. You quickly put your phone away and smile at your wife. 

 

But she's not smiling. You just ruined the moment. You destroyed the atmosphere. Until now it was all about the two of you. As soon as you took out your phone, the ambiance was shattered. You brought the outside world into your intimate space. 


You could try explaining that it was just a little phone call and is really no big deal. Good luck with that. If you think you can make a business call on a date night, you just don't get what it means to create an intimate ambiance. 


The Shabbos laws are all about creating an ambiance of rest, a moment of spiritual intimacy, when we appreciate G-d's creation as it is without trying to change it. The state of the world when Shabbos comes in is the way it remains, and we do not interfere. If the light was off, it stays off. The flick of a switch, as insignificant as it may seem, would change the ambiance and ruin the moment. 


Someone who has never fully kept Shabbos may find this hard to understand. But if you've tasted the profound sense of restfulness that Shabbos can bring, you know how even a slight interruption can make a difference. 



We all need date nights and we all need Shabbos. And we need to protect the intimacy of these sacred moments. 

 

Good Shabbos, 
Rabbi Moss 

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