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Digital Sabbath

March 2nd, 2013  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

This sabbath has a sign

As the least Jewish (yet still sorta Jewy!) member of DadWagon, Sabbath has never been my strength. So when I set out to write about the fourth annual National Day of Unplugging on March 1, which is a sort of Sabbath for the digital era, I realized that by writing about it March 1, I would actually be totally violating the premise (unless I was going to write it down with pencil and paper and just post it around the neighborhood).

And so, I present to you, on March 2 in the evening, a post about March 1.

There is a lot of scripture about the Sabbath and what it is and why God  commanded it and such. But one of the best has to be this:

Exodus 23:12 Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day thou shall rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.

I like it, of course for the unintentional way that it talks to me in the vernacular—thine ass may rest!—and because it presumes I have a handmaid, which is nice and flattering. But this, like other scripture on Sabbath, says it should be a day of rest. The problem for a digital sabbath is that these days we tend to be doing the exact same thing whether at rest or at work. That is, we are still at our computers whether it’s the weekend or the week, whether we are looking to work through a to-do list or looking for cat porn for fun (or whatever your search habits are). About when the Book of Exodus would have been written, it was pretty clear if someone was in the fields working or at home Sabbathing. Now you would have to be close enough to see the screen—angry birds or angry email to investors?—to figure out whether this was work or rest.

That’s why I like the solution from the National Day of Unplugging people. Just unplug it all. Refresh your handmaid’s son (if you’re into that kink). Rest thine ox. And, of course, rest thine ass. Offline.

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