From Tee-time to Tefilah-time
As I mentioned in previous posts, once we made the decision to become religious, we sought out and found an amazing rabbi who patiently guided us along our new spiritual journey. Our rabbi suggested that we begin by keeping the laws of kashrut. Second, was to observe the Shabbat-the holy Sabbath. Turning over the kitchen to make it kosher and giving up our favorite restaurants proved to be much easier than keeping Shabbat. My wife and I enjoyed many “weekend” activities, and for me, Saturday mornings were spent on the golf course.
Golf was more than hitting a ball around the course
First of all, I was an avid golfer and we enjoyed many golfing vacations around the world. Saturday mornings on the links was a chance to unwind from the hectic schedule of the week, and connect with my friends and colleagues. Sometimes I golfed alone, and it was a time to connect with nature and be spiritual in my own way. How would I keep my connections if I couldn’t tee it up with my friends?
Teeing it up at the synagogue
Under the guidance of our rabbi, he did not suggest we dive in and keep Shabbat completely right away. He knew it was unrealistic. We began in stages, slowly, slowly working our way to a completely Shabbat-observant day. I went to Friday night services, we came home and had the traditional meal and did not use any electronic devices. The next morning, I still went to the golf course. But, once we were keeping kosher and going to the synagogue on Friday night, being on the golf course the next morning actually caused a disconnect in my psyche rather than the connection that I had always felt before. One day, I decided that not only would I go to synagogue in the night, but I would also go the next day, Shabbat morning. We went and afterwards enjoyed the tasty Kiddush where we began to build new connections. Ultimately, we became completely Shabbat observant and I discovered that in this peaceful time, of disconnecting from the weekday world, I became more spiritually connected than ever before.
Today, I honestly do not know how we lived without Shabbat. And by the way, golf courses are open on Sundays too!
By Oren Laurent