Transitioning to Shabbos

Jacob Da Jew recently wrote a post about how his brother-in-law recently joined the workforce, and now truly appreciates the “rest” you take on Shabbos.

For me, it was the opposite. I wasn’t Shabbos observant until about 2-3 years ago (I never did mark down the exact day I started). Before that, I couldn’t figure out how people could observe Shabbos. After working all week, I eagerly awaited the weekend to do all the other things that needed doing. Shopping, going out, having fun, taking rides, etc.

When I married my observant wife, she said she accepted me as I was, and would not change me to try to make me Shomer Shabbos, kosher, etc. And for the first year or so, that’s what it was. In fact I used to teach motorcycle classes once a month over the whole weekend. But something happened. I began to miss the Friday night Shabbos dinner. Eventually I made arrangements so I could be home on Friday night, but still teach Saturday and Sunday. But then something else happened. Now I was missing going to Shul! Huh? Where did this come from? I used to only go to Friday night services a few times a year. Now I’m disappointed that I’m not at services on Shabbos? Hmmmmm. Okay, so now I don’t teach on the weekends anymore. But still, gotta have my e-mail! I check it several times an hour when awake! Well, hmmm, I guess I really don’t get all that much email on Saturday. Maybe I don’t need to check that often. You know what, I don’t need to check at all. Let’s just turn the computer off before we light the candles. Give the hard drive a rest from its constant spinning.

Boy, this is really going to be boring. For over 24 hours, no TV, no computer, no driving around and shopping. What the heck will we do anyway? Well, Shabbos dinner on Friday night is nice. Good family time. Saturday morning I get the kids up and let my wife sleep in a little bit. Then when she’s up (maybe with a little nudging from me) I go to shul (the wife and kids will join me later) and I really enjoy davening there. In the afternoon, I play with the kids, or they go to a neighbor’s house and run around wild there, and I get to take something I haven’t taken since Kindergarten… a nice nap. Some dinner, then if Shabbos ends early enough, Havdalah for the whole family, otherwise we put the kids to bed, and a little private time to talk with my wife before Shabbos ends.

You know what? I like this! I don’t miss the Saturday hullabaloo I used to participate in. It’s nice to get a rest in, take a break from the average week. I’ve turned 180 degrees, now instead of being annoyed with Shabbos “interfering” with my schedule, I actually look forward to it and the break it gives me every week.

Originally posted here.

2 comments on “Transitioning to Shabbos

  1. Back when I was new at this game, someone said this about why it was good to be a frum Jew: “If you are not a Jew or not frum, then you work all week and then come home and work around the house on weekends, or run around all weekend doing errands. Then, after 50 weeks of this grind, you get to take a couple of weeks off. (For you native New Yorkers, a ‘couple’ is two, exactly two :) ). But if you are frum, you work just as hard all week, except that every six days, you get a one day vacation, and then after 50 weeks, you still get to take a couple of weeks off.” It is good to be frum!

    Your story is interesting. It demonstrates my feelings about becoming frum and parallels my journey somewhat. Slowly, slowly, frumkeit absorbs into the depths of your being. It infuses every part of you. It becomes part of you, it becomes who and what you are. And once that happens, there is no going back. You are addicted.

    Early on, I had some rough times adjusting. I still sort of had one foot in the old world and one foot in the frum world. But I was in some misery. I guess I hadn’t totally accepted what was happening to me. One weekend, I was so bummed out, I decided I didn’t want this frum life and so I tried to throw it overboard. Monday I went to work bare-headed. When lunch came, I bought my lunch at the cafeteria. I said I bought it — but I couldn’t eat it. Not even the vegetables. I knew then where I belonged and where I really wanted to be. Even though it was tough going for a while, and, to tell the truth, there have been tough times along the way since then, I really don’t want to live any other way.

    And now, I automatically recoil when I see a Jew eating trief. I am not the person I once was. I’ve come a long way, and I know I’ve still got a long way to go. But I don’t mind at all. I am happy where I am, I like what I have become, and since I think that it is all about the journey, I look forward to getting even better.

    I daven at a Chabad minyan. I’m not, but I like the guys, and I love our Rabbi. True, if you can’t deal with “all the Rebbe, all the time”, you probably wouldn’t like it, but I am very comfortable and happy there. Well, anyway, the 2nd day of Rosh Hashannah, between mincha and mariv, we have a fabringen. We sing, we tell rebbe stories, and, of course, we nosh. Looking around the room, it looked like a scene out of a Hollywood movie in some strange way. But it also struck me that this is my life, these are my chevra, and it’s real life, my life, not a movie, and I coulda stayed there all night singing, listening to the stories, noshing, and just chilling out with my good friends.

    It’s good to be frum.

  2. Wow! I am just blown away by your story! I’m the observant wife of a non-observant husband, and I so wish that he would have those same insights you mention. May Hashem bless you and your wife with a wonderful, sweet New Year, and may He increase the love you and your wife have for each other every moment of every day.

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