Talia R. Cohen expresses concern about keeping away from cell phones on Shabbat (“On Shabbos, The New Labor Pains,” July 29). If celebrated properly, one answers only to God on Shabbat, and appreciates the opportunity.
Shabbat is more contemporary than ever. It frees us from being slaves to our cells, which can be almost as confining to the mind as being prisoners in a different kind of cell, to the body. It is true that one doesn’t have to answer cell phone calls or text messages, but sometimes just knowing about a call or text message, even if a phone is set to vibrate, can alter a person’s frame of mind, eliminate tranquility and/or ruin one’s whole day.
On Shabbat, an observant Jew has true freedom of choice, to spend time with family and friends of one’s preference, and true freedom from intrusive business associates, let alone competitors or “wannabe” friends, or even true friends that one may not happen to want to talk to every single day of the week.
Technology can be a force for immeasurable good or evil. Shabbat is one day when we don’t have to be pulled by both of these forces simultaneously.
For many of us, work is no longer physical, but even if you are not an accountant, it can be no less taxing. A trial lawyer’s life can present more stress and a heavier burden than that of a professional weight lifter. Freedom from the cell phone can in a sense be more beneficial, refreshing, and “reJewvenating” in a technological age than freedom from physically picking up a leaf or a brick in simpler times.