In this week’s parsha we learn about the importance of focusing on all areas of life.
A newlywed couples head out on their first shopping trip for home furnishings. As they mill around the furniture department, a loud green couch catches their attention.
They glance at each other and then back at the piece, each sensing that the other wants it, and so, with little discussion, they make the purchase.
Alas, when they get home there’s no euphoria…and they stand there, looking at each other, and the couch, in awkwardness.
“But I thought you liked it…” starts the husband. “Oh, I thought you did…” she responds. Turned out they bought something neither of them wanted to begin with.
It’s a fact of life: suppressing our feelings never really gets us what we need, and with even just a little bit of neglect, we end up left wanting.
In the same vein, albeit on a deeper level, no aspect of the human being is insignificant and if we neglect any part of ourselves, be it emotional, psychological, physical, or spiritual, we compromise our ability to lead truly fulfilling lives.
The holistic doctor does not merely treat a patient’s symptoms, but rather will assess all aspects of his health because he knows that everything is intrinsically connected. Similarly, if we seek to achieve wholesomeness in our lives, we need to satisfy our hearts and minds, our bodies and souls.
A colleague once challenged me, “If I’m successful in my work…I’ll have it all. What more do I need?” He made it big in business, but he came back to me months later and agreed that with all of his accomplishments, he was still feeling empty. Indeed, even if we achieve greatness in one area of our lives, that alone cannot satisfy, if we fail to address other parts of ourselves.
That’s why I love Shabbat – it’s the one day in my week that taps into all the important areas of my life and brings them together in an incredibly peaceful and gratifying way. It’s the one day that merges our social needs – quality time with family and friends; spiritual needs – expression of Jewish identity; emotional needs – communication and bonding between loved ones; and of course, quiet time to reflect on ourselves as individuals, in a truly wholesome way.