Is Vacation a Jewish Ideal?

Watch: Health professionals encourage vacation as a means to promote well-being, decrease burnout, and improve relationships. But is vacation a Jewish ideal?

On a typical day, a healthy individual does not think about the need to breathe or the nutrients he needs for survival. At certain times, though, we become keenly aware of these behaviors. 

When we swim under water, we feel an urge to come up for air. After a fast day, we instantly feel the energizing effect of food and drink. 

For a Jew, the health of our body and soul goes hand in hand. What breathing and nourishment do for the body, Torah and Mitzvos do for the soul. 

During the year, adults are busy at work. Children study a range of topics in school, both Judaic and secular subjects.The soul can feel under-nourished. Summer is a time to rejuvenate. Our soul holds its breath, eager for vacation, when it can inhale as much Torah and mitzvos as possible. 

During the summer, both body and soul can breathe freely. We are given the ideal backdrop: pleasant natural surroundings, sunshine, fresh air, and best of all — lots of free time. We can use that free time to increase our Torah study and Jewish activities which we did not have time for during the year. 

Take a deep breath. You are on vacation. 

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