A Mom with young children recently asked a great question about how to keep Shabbats, including Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement when you have little ones to take care of.
The simple answer: Just use some common sense.
The longer answer is this:
The truth is, a mother’s work is never done. It's impossible to for a Mom to NOT do some "work" on any Shabbat (including Yom Kippur), be they the weekly or the yearly ones - especially when she has very young children.
Life HAS to go on!
(This also means that YOU must take care of YOU. Fast on Yom Kippur, if you can, but don’t put your health and well-being in jeopardy as you spend your day taking care of your children. And by all means, do NOT make your little ones fast. Gradually introduce them to “denying themselves” as they grow older, by – for instance – not allowing them to eat certain things or denying them some video watching on Yom Kippur.)
YHWH didn't mean for any of His Shabbats to be a burden; they are to be joyful days of rest away from your normal, "income-producing" work.
Each of the yearly High Holy Day Shabbats have a special meaning, and as long as you know that and are sincerely doing them to the best of your ability, you won’t be guilty of “breaking” a Shabbat.
So, yes, it’s especially difficult for a housewife to properly keep any Shabbats – unless she has no children and can prepare her food ahead of time (on Fridays or in the days prior to a yearly High Holy Day) and leave the dishes and other housework until after the Shabbat. But, as mentioned above, with small children, life MUST go on!
Therefore, simply employ some common sense and do what you need to do on Shabbat (or High Holy Days, including the upcoming Yom Kippur). Clean up the messes, get your children fed and taken care of, play with them, let them watch some children’s videos, and REST when you can ... while remembering throughout the day to talk to YHWH and thank Him for His blessings, acknowledging that it’s Yom Kippur (or whatever the High Holy Day is at the time).
When the children get older, teach them about Shabbats and what is to be done on each of them (both weekly and yearly). Teach them to clean up their own messes to give their Mom a break, especially on Shabbat. (There's no reason why, for instance, a 10 year old can't clean up their room or their own toaster crumbs or to clear and wipe off the table after putting their dishes in the sink … ANYTHING to help the mother out and make her day’s work a little easier.)
Just remember, YHWH knows whether or not you’re trying, so give yourself a break and do the best you can – but ALWAYS BE SINCERE, because He KNOWS who is truly trying their best, and who is only “halfhearted.”
YHWH’s Shabbats and High Holy Days are hard to keep in a Torah-less world, and really, NOBODY knows exactly “how to do” them. We’re all just doing the best we can.
After reading this article, I've realized I am lacking some common sense. Thanks for the refreshing inputReplyDelete
You're very welcome, “Unknown”. Not sure what your comment means, but I'm guessing you're new to Torah? If that's the case, then you need to go easier on yourself, because you can't possibly know anything about the Feasts UNLESS you've actually, not just READ about, but EXPERIENCED them for at least a couple years with people who have actual hands-on experience at doing them. Practice makes perfect.Delete
Reading ABOUT the Feasts isn’t enough. YHWH expects us to DO them – and there’s good reason for that: DOING is different from just “hearing or reading about” them… It's no different from childbirth. Can a woman who has never borne children, write a book about childbirth? Is she qualified to explain how it feels to be pregnant and how birth pangs feel?
Sure, once she’s had a child, she IS qualified. But NOT so with anything concerning Torah! Learning to follow Torah and “how to do” all the Shabbats is not a “well, I’ve read it once and so I know all about it,” kind of a thing! The entire Bible is designed to keep people reading, learning and growing – and having their eyes opened to “something new” that they didn’t see before, EVERY TIME they read and study their way through.
As a Messianic teacher, it’s been very frustrating for me sometimes (LOTS of times, actually!), because there are so many who are brand new to Torah (with many who have never even read the New Testament, let alone, the “old”), and after doing just ONE YEAR of weekly Torah readings, they will start flying off the handle and feeling qualified to teach Torah … using endless incorporation of their CHRISTIAN knowledge into something that should be viewed and taught through HEBREW lenses…
They don’t realize that they are actually doing a disservice to others who are trying to learn, because one CANNOT teach or pass off their personal opinions (which are oftentimes picked off the Internet from various “teachers) as “Truth”, when one only has a "baby" knowledge of Torah! Unfortunately, trying to tell them that pretty much takes an act of Congress, LOL! It’s frustrating sometimes, especially since the “newbies” to Torah way outnumber the actual qualified teachers, and they’re all over the place, teaching each other with “insights” gained solely from personal opinions and what they THINK they have learned so far.
I remember a few years ago, the Hebrew Roots "big wigs" suddenly allowed a young woman to start voicing her opinions and passing them off as "wonderful insights" and "new truths"; thus making it appear as if she was already qualified to teach Torah...
Feeling herself qualified (and even, for some reason, being encouraged by the HR types), she immediately started writing books about Torah - even though she admitted at the time that, after being Torah observant for approximately three or four years, she had NEVER yet even "done" one of the Feasts! But there she was, this darling of the Hebrew Roots movement, telling people the importance of "how to" keep the Feasts....
Anyway, sorry about the rant, “Unknown”! We thank you for taking the time to write and would encourage you to keep on learning and growing – AND using a lot of common sense while doing so. We wish you well and pray many blessings on you! If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We can’t promise we “know everything,” but we will certainly do our best to provide BIBLICAL responses!