The Saturday Dilemma


Shabbat meals are ready.  The house is far from clean.  I have pretty much given up on preparing the whole house for Shabbat now that we have a baby.  Once a month, we have budgeted in for a cleaning lady.  I will have to wait one more week until the entire house will feel sparking and beautiful for the Shabbat Queen. 

My husband has learned to enjoy the holiness of Shabbat.  He comes home from work, and the Shabbat candles are lit, there is a beautiful meal ready to be served, and his wife seems a bit more relaxed than other days. 

In recent years I have increased my level of Shabbat observance.  I don’t drive, I don’t answer the phone or use electricity.  I want the same thing for my son.  My husband, who is not Jewish, isn’t required to keep the laws of Shabbat.  I know he isn’t really interested in fully observing anyway.  I worry sometimes, though, how that will affect my son. 

Before I go on, I want to say my husband is 100% supportive of my Jewish spirituality.  There are just certain things he can’t or won’t do himself though.  I get it. 

I know my husband likes his Saturdays for his man-cave time.  He tinkers on whatever needs to be worked on.  For him, Saturday is catch up day.  Or a day to run off with the boys for a mountain bike ride or a ski.

I have discussed with him on many occasions that right now, while our son is still young and mostly unaware, he can do what he wants.  But soon, probably way too soon, our son will be more in tune with what is going on in his house.  No doubt, he will want to be with Daddy, do what Daddy does.  Why would he want to stay home with Mommy and go to shul if Daddy is running off doing something fun like biking? 

I think about these kinds of things a lot.  I want my son to appreciate and enjoy his Jewish spirituality.  I wonder how to balance all of this.  Let my husband keep his cave time while educating our son. 

What do you think?0 0

3 thoughts on “The Saturday Dilemma”

  • Honestly, for me, I have a much more relaxed version of Shabbat. I don’t engage in work, but I have a more modern sense of what constitutes work.  I don’t spend money, but that is really more because I am trying to back off from the hustle and bustle of modern capitalism to appreciate the gifts god has given us – that we can all enjoy whether your bank account has 1 cent or 1 million dollars in it.

    For me, I think we get too wrapped up in the list of “don’ts” on Shabbat.  It’s not about “not working”. It’s about rest and peace, reflection and appreciation.

    A father-son bike ride seems like the perfect Shabbat activity.  It’s time together, out in nature, taking care of your body.

    I would suggest that you and your husband, and eventually your kids, talk about what you really want from your shabbat observances – BOTH of you – and find ways to make that work.  

  • In my interfaith home, we keep all shabbes on Friday evenings.  My (raised Catholic) husband enjoys playing board games with me on Fridays after our daughter goes to bed.  Our toddler  daughter loves the candles and singing and asks for Shabbat all week.  Saturday (for now) is just a conventional weekend day, though. 

  • Hi there,

    What’s up, just wanted to tell you, I loved this post? It just so very helpful. Keep on posting!

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