Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

A Gift and a Burden

I was thinking about Shabbat on my walk home from Geek eat, and reflecting on the words to the Hebrew version of Dayenu, in particular, the "ilu natan, natan lanu, latan lanu et ha'Shabbat, latan lanu et ha'Shabbat, Dayenu". I understand this to mean "Had he given us only Shabbat, it would've been enough" (not a poetic translation that tries to mirror the original structure). From this perspective, Shabbat is viewed as a gift and a good thing. From another perspective, I have sometimes heard it said from other observant jews that they are not permitted to do X or Y on Shabbat, suggesting to me that it is perhaps a burden. However, looking at the role Shabbat played throughout history, sometimes the relationship between burden and gift is a complicated one. If one were to imagine a thief coming to make a demand that one surrender all one's monies to them, one would be better off having carried less with them, because one is bound by necessity to not surrender more than one has at any given time. It would not make sense for a thief to kill someone for not having enough money, and threats to extract more would be unproductive. Similarly, in earlier times before 5-day weeks became common, having a day of rest set by religion would prevent, to a certain extent, people of that creed from being forced to overwork themselves. In such circumstances, Shabbat is certainly more of a gift (temporarily ignoring the contentious issue of from whom the gift came, i.e. self gift or gift from a deity). From those who are Shomer Shabbat, I have heard from some that it is a time to decompress from the week, to collect oneself, to pray, and to do other things that I could phrase as important for their mental health). Shabbat is thus also useful as a habit. I find the phrasing of "not allowed" to be unfortunate, as it emphasises the burden side of what seems to be a healthy practice -- a phrasing more centric on "we refrain from X for Shabbat" seems less problematic. This may, however, garner less bending of society as a whole to meet the lifestyle, as when posed as a need, people feel it is to be respected. It would be interesting to know if the original language suggests it as a burden or as a gift (or perhaps something more complex).

On another topic, I think it was probably unwise for me to be so strongly attracted to -REDACTED-, because I have noticed something about her that, while not fatal to a relationship, would've been at least a moderate detriment. She's a very bossy person who loves to manage people and events. This irritates me, and it always has -- some kinds of people organise things simply for the sake of organising them, without serving any kind of purpose. Some things need to be organised, and although I'm more of a loner than a leader/follower, I can lead when necessary for a long as possible. Things that don't need to be organised, or don't need to be organised beyond a certain point, should not in my eyes be organised. People who organise out of neurotic reasons (fear of disorganisation) or for social status tend to irritate me, sometimes making me very angry when they attempt to organise what I am doing. I suspect that she organises for social status. Meh. Perhaps if she had been interested in a relationship, we would've productively talked about it. As-is, instead I am simply irritated.

To some extent, this is part of a larger curiosity I have about type-A people. Those I have come to know have said that schedules genuinely make them happy, especially when full. From my perspective, it seems like they fear unscheduled time, and judge their life by how much they can accomplish. I wonder if one or both of those are accurate of most highly-scheduled people.

Conversations with L gave me a lot to think about.

I am surprisingly tired -- I think my recent sinus problems have taken a lot out of me. I think today's an early bedtime night.


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