Are there special moments that you set aside in the hopes that you won’t be interrupted or distracted? Family dinner? Those fifteen minutes before bedtime? A birthday? What is it that makes those times special for you? Is it the people you are with or the actual thing that you are doing? Is it about a particular time of day or year or about the event around which it is organized? Now think about how those times feel different from the rest of the week. Do you not take phone calls or answer email? Are there certain things you choose to talk about, or not talk about? How do you go about making that time special time?

This week’s Torah portion, Pekudei, describes the sacred time of Shabbat in similar terms. At first glance, it might seem like it is just a long list of things to “not do” on Shabbat, but on closer look, we can find that it is actually sharing a way of behaving that helps us to make that time (Shabbat) different and special.

For six days of the week, we are limited in our actions because we are pulled in so many directions. We have great power to accomplish many things, but we are limited by our many responsibilities. What does it look like to think of one day, one special time, as helping us to balance those responsibilities and limitations? Instead of thinking of Shabbat as being a time when there are lots of rules of things we “don’t do”, we could think of Shabbat as a time when we are freed from those limitations and have the power to create those sacred moments in our lives.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the magic of sacred time.


  • What is a “sacred time” in your life?
  • What do you do, or not do, in order to make time special?
  • Does this image of Shabbat or sacred time resonate with you?
  • What are the things you might do, or not do, on Shabbat in order to make it more special for you?

Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.