Why Can't I Play Guitar on Shabbos?
by Rabbi Aron Moss
I have taken on the challenge and started keeping Shabbos properly. No phone, no driving, no work, and actually it's no big deal. I love it. The only thing that bothers me is not playing musical instruments. I am a mad guitarist and it would so enhance my day if I could play. It's not work, it's a pleasure. So why is it forbidden?
We sing on Shabbos. But we don't play instruments. And that is what Shabbos is all about.
For six days we are all musicians, playing in a grand orchestra called civilization. Whether a baker or a banker, housewife or herbalist, trainer or town planner, mechanic or microbiologist, each one plays their part in the symphony, advancing and improving the world we live in. We utilize every instrument available, using human ingenuity to make music out of the madness and bring harmony to the cacophony. Our mission during the working week is to fine tune the world and bring it closer to its purpose.
Then Shabbos comes. On Shabbos, we stop plucking the strings and banging the drums. We put all external instruments aside, and stripped of the trappings of technology we are free to just be. We cease creating and start existing. We stop what we are doing and focus on being. On the day of rest we are not changing the external world, we are enjoying the inner world.
But the music doesn't stop. Even on Shabbos, the symphony continues. But it comes from an even deeper place. On Shabbos, we internalize the music. We become the music. We are the music. So we sing.
The very thing that makes Shabbos hard for you is what will make it so powerful. You are being asked to go beyond your outer self and uncover a yet untapped layer of your soul. For you this will be achieved by not playing music, but being the music.
On Shabbos, there are no instruments, there's just you as G-d created you. Let your song come out.