Friday, May 18, 2012

Sabbaticals

 Ever wonder where Sabbaticals come from? I would venture it comes from this week's Torah reading 25:4-5:

4. But in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete rest a Sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field, nor shall you prune your vineyard.

5. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest, and you shall not pick the grapes you had set aside [for yourself], [for] it shall be a year of rest for the land.
Why is this so important to the land, life and your sanity? Back then tending a vineyard or farming was the pinnacle, aside from construction, industry at the time. Grow fruits or vegetables or wheat and especially grapes and make it into other products and sell it across the King's Highway and you were good as gold.

We know now in modern times what was a given back then, that the land needs a break. Just like a horse or camel traveling for hours on end, everything needs a break. By giving the land some time off, it is refreshed and ready to produce better crops.

And so Sabbaticals at companies, which used to be the norm, not so much these days, provided employees a much needed break to get themselves ready for the next stage of their career. Sadly this benefit has also fallen from use due to budget cutting and the need to not have any fat. The short sightedness of this may mean you are burning your employees out and leaving them nothing to look forward to in their future. Sabbaticals were not a year off, but more like an extended vacation which would provide anywhere from a month to 3 or more depending on your position in the company.

Smokers need a break, coffee drinkers need a break, bloggers need a break and similarly daily workers need a break and thus Shabbat comes in to remind us that you can't be focused on work 24x7 every week. I for one appreciate the day off from work and using any electronic technology and just spending time with my friends and family. Try it, you might like it as well.

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Parsha Behar, Bechukotai in the book of Vayikra Leviticus 25:1-26:2 26:3-27:34
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom