Parashat Reeh: What does the Torah say about going on vacation?
(adapted from my Shofar Newsletter article from 2011) Here’s a good question to ask in August: What does the Torah teach us about how to go on vacation? The initial answer might be, not so much. You would have a hard time coming up with references to vacation in the Torah. Perhaps you could say that the institution of Shabbat is like a weekly vacation, but that’s pretty metaphorical. In general, there’s not much leisure described in the torah. What there IS a lot of in the Torah – is travel. Abraham moves to the land of Israel. The people of Israel go down to Egypt, and then take a long and scenic route for forty years back to the land of Israel. But it’s hard to describe all that travel as being like tourism. Most of it is more like desperate wandering and displacement, which is rather different from vacation. But surprisingly, there is a reference to going away on vacation in the Torah portion of Re’eh (which we will read this year on Saturday, August 18, 2012). It