Rest For the Soul
However silly the image of Elohim resting on the seventh day may seem on the surface, know that it holds perhaps the most profound secret of enlightenment in Jewish mysticism. Sabbath, or Shabbat, is the mystery of repose in and reintegration with the Holy One. The Hebrew letters spelling shabbat may rearrange to spell teshuvah—returning to God. To rest is to return: To return is to rest. To remember Shabbat (Exodus 20:8) is to prepare all week for a day set aside, devoted entirely to God; to keep it holy is with prayer, meditation, study of scripture, enjoying a fine meal, and gathering to discourse and worship with the good company of Tzaddik and one’s spiritual family.
Shabbat is the day we identify with our soul in God; we rest from problem-solving and our identity with the world. On Shabbat, there is nothing to do, fix, or finish, for on Shabbat, from its mystical perspective of the World-to-Come, all is already complete and wholly in God. Heaven and earth unite on Shabbat when Jewish spouses make love to each other in remembrance of the Holy One and his Shekinah: Their rest is the essence of the soul’s return to God.
Our Need For Rest
If contemplative, Jewish culture insisted on a full day of spiritual rest in the ancient world, how much more do we need spiritual rest in the postmodern world? Understand, if the world feels like it’s disintegrating, it must reflect people's failure week to week to reintegrate their lives with their origin. With no regular day of rest, life lived constantly from the surface becomes a trackless waste. With no memories of a regular day of rest in our life, our soul has nothing to hold onto in the tides of the afterlife. This is the mystical meaning of “death” and “exile” for those who profane Shabbat (Exodus 31:14). Yeshua added: If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the (Father's) kingdom. If you do not observe the sabbath as a sabbath you will not see the Father (Thomas, 27).
Our tradition insists on remembering and keeping a day of spiritual rest, not in religiosity, but with the same joy as a day off with one’s beloved. The Shabbat was made for us (Mark 2:27). To give time to ourselves in the Holy One integrates the past six days of our creation and prepares us for the next six days to come. This is how all of us who are active mystics with our partners, families, careers, and lifestyles, can ground and embody an authentically spiritual life that will meet us in the afterlife.
Shabbat in Our Tradition
In remembrance of the day the Risen Yeshua appeared to Mary Magdalene, companions of our community gather at noon on Sundays. Rather than the last day, companions of our community gather on the first day of the week in honor of the immanence and fullness of the Holy One. While some of our companions’ careers in medicine and transportation have required them on that day, those same companions kept Shabbat on another day. For everyone else in their own homes on Sunday mornings, each companion will have already extended their personal continuum of spiritual practice and study before gathering at the sanctuary house of Tau Malachi for discourse. Many of these discourses are archived and available for free on our YouTube channel.
After discourse, companions rearrange the sanctuary chairs and bring in folding tables to make a shared eating space. Tau’s discourse continues or ventures into other topics while we lunch together. Companions might ask him questions for integration with events of their past week. When it is time, companions flip the eating space back into a sanctuary. Elders gather them for a session of prayer, meditation, and gifted worship that culminates in a Wedding Feast of bread and wine. Thereafter, companions depart to their own homes, bearing the energy of Shabbat to their loved ones. Come Sunday evening, companions might conclude with reflections of what they heard and experienced during the Shabbat, a spiritual practice, or both. Our practice of remembering and keeping Shabbat over months into years and decades fosters real and lasting growth from the inside out in the lives of our companions.