The holiness of Shabbat emanates from humankind acknowledging its relationship with G-d. Whether through agriculture or commerce, humanity struggles daily to control the world. In modern times, humankind has been, by and large, very successful at governing nature – mighty rivers have been redirected and the hardest substances on earth have been cut to humankind’s will. We have even created new chemical elements.

The ability to overpower nature also tends to give humankind a sense of complete independence from any “greater power.” It is easy to forget that God actually controls the many minute details that make wheat grow and copper bend. Abstaining from labor on Shabbat reminds us, weekly, that God controls the world. Six days of the week are filled with “doing,” Shabbat is for “being.”