Shabbat Shalom Week 2: It's Not a Religious Thing

Honest. When I say “Shabbat shalom” to you, I’m not imposing some religious idea. I just haven’t come up with a better way to say “HAIL, WEEKEND!” that gets the point across properly. I’m trying to advocate for taking the weekend seriously. For staking out some inviolable downtime to be alone or with loved ones without an agenda. For establishing a firm line between us and the bosses/clients/co-founders/colleagues/ourselves about messing with our Saturdays. Religious language is all I’ve got.

I mean, it’s religious for me, to be clear. The words “Shabbat shalom” have spiritual meaning and importance to me beyond “HAIL, WEEKEND.” But that’s not what I’m trying to communicate to people who don’t consent to religiousness. It’s the weekend part that’s the important part. Yes, I dig Genesis 2:1-3, but I also dig The Mollusk by Ween, and it doesn’t surprise me when other people don’t. Enough has been communicated if we share the notion of enjoying a beloved record.

I find it telling that capitalist-America-whatever has not memed up some pre-weekend greeting and exported it all around the world like the rest of its culture. Why would we? The sanctity of the weekend in this culture was obviously a temporary thing, a ruse, just for long enough for the bosses to invent email and the “consumerization of IT” so the lazy weekend addicts could finally get clean and start working 24/7. In the it’s-like-Uber-for-employees world, it barely even matters what day of the week it is.

This is a bad trend. Bad. If we let the world of work slip further into this, we’re going to be in a bad way. Parts of it are not under our control. Cost of living, fair wages, and the availability of work are not under our control. But the widespread cultural acceptance of vibrating work leashes in our pockets at all times is a social choice. Being available all the time creates the expectation of availability all the time. We still have time to destroy that expectation and retain control over at least some of our time.

When I say “Shabbat shalom,” I’m saying we should advocate loudly for the idea that the choice to disconnect and recover — even just for one day a week — should be celebrated and protected. We have to turn this ship around before we’re all wearing Google Glasses connected to robot cameras at our desks in our office that can turn themselves on at will.

Shabbat shalom.