The Mitzvah of Jewish Napping

                                         The Mitzvah of Jewish Napping

One nice thing about Judaism is the way it makes a virtue out of doing things we enjoy.    Celebrating Purim, for instance.  When else is it a virtue to get drunk?  Shabbes dinner is another one.  It’s a mitzvah to enjoy a large tasty meal with your family.    

On Shabbos, we have many pleasant obligations to balance.  We have obligations to rest, to pray, to learn, and to feast.  Many people choose to emphasize prayer on Shabbes.  Many prepare delightfully tasty and festive meals.  Others emphasize “menucha” or rest.  The Torah describes what G-d did for himself on the seventh day as “yinafash.”  “Yinafash” might be poetically translated as “he was soulified” or “he enhanced his soul.”  I can think of no better way to describe the effects of taking a long nap after lunch with the afternoon sun bathing my recliner in warmth and a Jewish newspaper shielding my eyes from the sun. 

Many Jews have religious doubts concerning Yom Kippur, Purim, keeping kosher, the place of women in Judaism, and a host of other issues too numerous to mention.  But I never heard of any Jew with moral objections to a nap. 

Many also worry that their prayer, their study, their contributions to the community, or other mitzvah may not be up to the level of those around them.  I often feel inadequate when compared to my neighbor.  But I can sleep as well as the best of them.

Jews are divided in matters of ritual practice.  We have Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal, Egalitarian, Humanistic synagogues and probably other groups that I am unaware of.  We have trouble accepting each other’s rituals as valid.  But no one (well, no adults anyway) quarrels about napping. 

So in the interests of Jewish unity, sometime this Shabbes lie down on a sun warmed couch and take a nap.

It’s a mitzvah.