Sabbatical or a sabbatical (from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a “ceasing”) is a rest from work, or a hiatus, often lasting from two months to a year. The concept of sabbatical has a source in shmita, described several places in theBible (Leviticus 25, for example, where there is a commandment to desist from working the fields in the seventh year). In the strict sense, therefore, sabbatical lasts a year.
To desist from working the fields in the seventh year – thus, my break from teaching, which, I guess, is akin to working in the fields. So far my sabbatical has produced three trips to Italy, lovely quiet time in the archive, a bit of time lying on the living room rug staring at the ceiling, a lot of undisciplined reading, some disciplined reading, and a whole lot of good intentions, not many of them realized. Learn to drive – not yet. Learn to play guitar – can’t give up my manicure. Lose 60 pounds – so far, I’m still curating them. Write a book – already did that but, in academe, while publishing a book means everything, once it’s published it doesn’t really mean much. One of the many ironies of accomplishment is that it’s about as short-lived as most other real pleasures in life. However, like my second book manuscript, I am a work in progress.