Shutting Down For Shabbat

Time to unplug

Bob Pepe
3 min readMay 26

As a Jew who likes to label himself as much more spiritual than religious, I find many of the “traditions” accompanying my faith somewhat antiquated and unsuitable for my modern life. Nevertheless, I am in no position to question these rituals that have sustained the Jewish people for thousands of years and through more persecution than virtually any other group in history.

The 613 Mitzvot in the Torah are the guidebook for my life, even though I do not follow or adhere to many of them. But, whenever I have a moral or ethical question, I know just where to find the answer.

Having said that, there is one particular concept that I need to take more seriously and incorporate into my life. I am only writing about this because it is something that everyone should do. Not just the Jewish people.

Many religions have a day of rest or, in the Jewish world, Shabbat. I will give you the shortest definition of Shabbat for those unfamiliar with the word or concept. “God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day, he rested.”

How you define rest is something totally separate, and the Jewish people have made that into a highly complicated and complex subject. There are 39 categories of actions that one should not do on Shabbat. They include everything from how far you can walk from your home to what and how much you can carry in your hands and many other restrictions.

Some of the most common restrictions are not using money on Shabbat, not driving, or using electronics (Yes, no cell phones).

That is the part that I want to focus on. We are attached to our devices all day, every day, and wouldn’t it be nice that for one day a week, we just put them away and didn’t touch them? It would benefit a hyper-connected world in a meaningful way.

It would allow you to sit quietly and read a book or take a walk, something that we rarely find time for on the other days of the week. It would force you to slow down and relax, giving you a chance to recharge your batteries. You could cook that dinner you wanted but never thought you had the time. Think of everything you have wanted to do but felt you needed more time.

How about taking a NAP??? That is a cherished Shabbat tradition!

We, Jews, do it starting Friday night at sunset and continuing until a little after sunset on Saturday night. I think Saturday or Sunday would be a perfect time to shut down, but if a weekday works better for you, choose the day that fits best.

One of the best parts of Shabbat is the anticipation. You are running ragged in your average work week, and you crawl home exhausted from the daily grind; you can look ahead and see that a full day of rest is coming up, giving you the motivation to continue.

It is genuinely an oasis in time, a weekly reprieve from the mundane, and a journey into the spiritual.

Give it a try. What do you have to lose? Except for some stress and anxiety!

Shabbat Shalom



Bob Pepe

Just a guy with some thoughts. I love tech, my family, sports, and trying to find my place in this crazy world