Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The Joy of Having a Child on Shabbos
As a Sabbath observant Jew, I had very mixed emotions about the prospect of my Better Half going into labor on Shabbos. While usually on Shabbos I do not drive, use electricity, my phone, computer, or any other technologies, when a woman is in labor, she, and her husband are required to violate the Sabbath for her safety, as she is viewed as an individual whose life is endangered. Nevertheless, it felt very unnatural as I picked up the phone to call the taxi, and as the taxi driver turned on gangsta rap, a genre of music I usually like, to calm his nerves as he drove us to the hospital.
However, there was one unmistakeable, unforgettable upside of my wife giving birth on Shabbos, and that is that after my precious daughter was born, and the danger had subsided, I could no longer use my phone, or violate the Shabbos in any other way. What that means, is that in the first magical moments of my Princess's life, there were absolutely NO distractions whatsoever. My wife and I arrived at the hospital as two people. Suddenly, in the middle of Shabbos, we became three; a phenomenon I pray each and every one of my thousands of readers experiences in their lives. And the three of us had a beautiful Shabbos lunch together. We each took a lovely Shabbos nap. And I was able to hold my daughter, and bask at G-d's kindness and His creation. Unlike in previous years, when I would immediately snap pictures and call loved ones, this time, my Princess had 100% of my focus, and I simply held her in my arms, unknowingly giggling with blissful delight. I was not in a rush to get home to relieve our incredible babysitter who was watching my other three angelic children at home, because I could not get in a car for six hours. My only concern was living in this holy moment of time, experiencing my love for my wife and daughter, savoring every second of it, and cherishing the holy Sabbath.
This experience taught me that this is what Shabbos should always be. Many of us (especially me) live our lives enslaved to our technology. Instead of cherishing a sunset, we have our phones out, snapping #sunsetSelfies so all of our "friends" on Instagram and Facebook can 'like' it. Instead of contemplating G-d's wonders as we gaze at the Grand Canyon we are too busy making sure we take enough pictures from enough different angles. Thank G-d we have Shabbos, which requires us to put our technology away, and to live our lives, to engage this sanctified moment of time. It enables us to truly experience our families-- to be present with those we love. Shabbos is a time where we put everything away and we delight in G-d's incredible world. This past Shabbos, I further realized just how miraculous His world is.