At services on Friday we learned that the mystical tradition links this new month of Tammuz to vision, the sense of sight. So last week's parasha, Balak, couldn't be more appropriate. The donkey sees those angels with perfect clarity, but Balaam the sorcerer is blind, or perhaps asleep--the Biblical version of putting your fingers in your ears and singing "La, la, la, I can't hear you!" Balaam would rather sit in darkness than confront the possibility of God's presence. The donkey, on the other hand, has a open mind, and is truly awake.
This is also the goal of Shabbat, said the rabbi--to wake up and see, and savor, the world we've been trying to create for the past week. I have to say that her words struck me as ironic--I wait all week for Shabbat so I can spend the afternoon dozing on my sofa and feeling like some sort of lazy princess. I am definitely not awake. Or maybe this habit is God's way of getting me to understand that the secrets of life are best discovered in rest, and the running around and working part is really just a ruse to avoid hearing my own thoughts. I can see my dreams most clearly when I stop--when I sleep--and make room for the truth.