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174 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have classic about "sacred time"
Perhaps no aspect of Jewish religious observance has been so poorly understood by the outside world as the Sabbath. Gentile expressions such as "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" have tended to give the impression that the Jewish Sabbath is something oppressive. Not so, says Rabbi Heschel. The Sabbath, when understood properly, is a...
Published on July 23, 2000 by Rabbi Yonassan Gershom

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the uninformed Jew
This book is not for beginners, or those who are relearning their heritage. This book is more like a dissertation, and assumes that the reader is somewhat of a Jewish scholar. More advanced for my taste. But it is ver informative, and perhaps one day I will reread it after I have studied Judiasm more thoroughly.
Published on November 3, 2001 by Scott Scheinhaus


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174 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have classic about "sacred time", July 23, 2000
This review is from: The Sabbath (Hardcover)
Perhaps no aspect of Jewish religious observance has been so poorly understood by the outside world as the Sabbath. Gentile expressions such as "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" have tended to give the impression that the Jewish Sabbath is something oppressive. Not so, says Rabbi Heschel. The Sabbath, when understood properly, is a gift of freedom.
In this now-classic book, first published in 1951, Heschel shows how the Sabbath is a "palace in time," a carefully structured retreat from the hustle and bustle of the marketplace. The laws of the Sabbath are the spiritual architecture with which the "palace in time" is built. Once you understand the blueprint for that palace, then all of the restrictions and to-do things on the Sabbath make sense.
Heschel was the first Jewish theologian (as far as I know) to explain how traditional Jews live more in sacred time than in sacred space. While other religions have devoted their energy to building physical temples and cathedrals in sacred places, Jews have erected sanctuaries in the form of sacred days. Time, like physical space, has a varied texture to it. Just as there are differences between mountains and oceans, so, too, are there are there differences between the Sabbath and the ordinary days of the week. The Sabbath is more than just a secular "day off." It's a specific creation made by God in the very dawn of Creation. The Sabbath is as real as the physical things we see and touch everyday in the natural world. But in order to experience the specialness of the Sabbath, one must step inside the structure of its special rules and observances -- to enter the "palace in time."
This book is beautifully-written in poetic prose that will inspire both Jews and non-Jews. It goes in and out of print with various publsihers, so, if it is not available on Amazon right now, track down a used copy or borrow it from the library. You will be very glad you did! s
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83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, October 16, 1999
By 
Alan Schwartzstein (Dane County, Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
Quite simply, this is one of the most beautiful, inspiring books I have ever read. Abraham Joshua Heschel, in a very short, accessible, clear manner, spells out the meaning of the Sabbath. I have been Jewish all my life, but realize now that I never truly understood Sabbath. The lessons in this book, which takes very little time to read, come back to me now every Friday night when I sit down with my family to say Shabbat prayers. It also has changed my approach to life the rest of the week, as Mr. Heschel explains the blessing of work and rest, and the place for each in life. Followers of other religions (certainly Christians) who have a day of rest will appreciate and benefit from the message of this book as much as Jewish individuals.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to the spirituality of the Sabbath, November 27, 2001
By 
A. Doug Floyd "pilgrim" (Louisville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
I never fully grasped the significance of Sabbath-keeping until reading this book. Heschel introduces several key ideas about the nature of time and how the Sabbath sancitfies time. I am a Christian minister and found this to be an excellent resource, so I would recommend this to anyone who is seeking to understand the important of rest and rhythm in life.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing theology and writing, October 28, 2004
By 
Heschel's little 100 page book maybe the most important one I've read in the last year. He does not offer simplistic, pragmatic rationale for taking a day off, but the theological underpinnings for why God designed us to function in a pattern of work and rest.

I won't ruin the many great surprises in the little book, but here are a few gems:

Our need for more time, which we are always losing, is compensated by our search for more space, in our ongoing pursuit of more property. Time and space essentially struggle with one another through our lives. Yet time is eternal while the spatial is temporal. So, in essence, we have to make time for the eternal in our week.

The parable about the body needing to celebrate with the soul on the Sabbath on page 19 is priceless.

The criticism of Philo's defense of the Sabbath, that it is more Roman than Jewish, is brilliant.

The conclusion that the Sabbath is a day we recreate Eden and relive God's intention for us is so beautiful that I will need to take a day off this week to think about it.

"The Sabbath" is articulate, deep, witty, and practical. I couldn't recommend it more.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, February 26, 2006
By 
Vanessa Schnautz (FPO, AP United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
The Sabbath is an awesome book to read for both Jews and Christians alike. Heschel's discussion of time, space and posessions is inspiring, and transforming. As a Christian, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it to be a very enlightening description of Jewish heritage. It challenged me to think about what time I observe with God, and for what reasons; what are my priorities; and how effective am I in living out my faith.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool water on a hot day...., January 27, 2001
By 
Thomas J. Brucia "Tom B" (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
Dipping into the pages of this thin volume is like drinking from a fresh spring in an oasis; it satisfies, but never stops bubbling up from below, refreshing again and again. Though it might not affect others as it did me, this work launches my mind off on a chain of speculations. And "The Sabbath" is quite poetic! Every (!) page is filled with gems like the following (p67): "A thought has blown the market place away. There is a song in the wind and joy in the trees. The Sabbath arrives in the world, scattering a song in the silence of the night: eternity utters a day." Another: "Israel is engaged to eternity. Even if they dedicate six days of the week to worldly pursuits, their soul is claimed by the seventh day."
"The Sabbath" is also intellectually satisfying. Heschel offers fresh ways of looking at existence: "...time is that which never expires...it is the world of space which is rolling through the infinite expanse of time."
At the level of daily existence, this work challenges a common perspective, asserting: "Labor is the means toward an end, and the Sabbath as a day of rest, as a day of abstaining from toil, is not for the purpose of becoming fit for the forthcoming labor. The Sabbath is a day for the sake of life. Man is not for the purpose of enhancing the efficiency of his work."
I mentioned that "The Sabbath" unleashed my speculative mind. For example, I tried to imagine the bubble of space-time suspended in an otherness we call God. Space is visible, filled with things; time is invisible but no less real. We and all around us float atop the river of time.... It occurred to me that at all instants, we are supported by the otherness that is in front of us in time, as well behind us in time. I drifted into another rumination: The First and Second Temples were works of men. While wandering in Sinai, tents were sufficient. And today, with neither temple nor tent, our new temple is one of temporal structures, carried inside each of us from place to place. Then, thinking of thingness, it occurred to me that Moses destroyed the tablets upon which the Divine laws were inscribed. He left the broken slabs where they fell. The stone was merely a tool - not the substance. The words (seemingly evanescent) were the truly enduring element.
I hope other readers of this volume will find it the springboard for meditation that I found it to be. I recommend it in the belief that it will.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for this book!, April 18, 2000
This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
Most of us Christians haven't got a clue about sabbaths. On Sundays, we drive to our churches in the same clothes we wear to our jobs. We stand, sit, kneel, sing, feign interest in the sermon, or pray when the program says to, all with the appropriate pious solemnity. After an hour or so of this, we go home and hurriedly get out of our "Sunday best", satisfied that we've done our duty to our Father.
But thank God Abraham Heschel understood what a wonderful gift the Sabbath is and what a delight it can be. Thank God that he wrote this book, and that this book is still in print. I haven't been as blown away by anything in a long time. Buy it. You won't be the same.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shabbat, An Island in Time, December 24, 2004
By 
This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
In The Sabbath, Heschel lays forward the view that holiness in Judaism is not set in place or places which is common for other peoples and religions, whether they be temples, shrines, holy places but in Judaism holiness resides in time. Chief among what Heschel calls "islands in time" is the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath. In so doing Heschel sets forward that time is of great importance and in that holiness resides in time and specific time like the weekly Shabbat, we need to take seriously these holy times.

We are now approaching another Shabbat and I am starting to get excited knowing that it is in this "island of time" that I experience G-d in such a powerful way. As I leave work on Friday afternoon I look at the sun barely above the horizon and I become overwhelmed and I breathe out the word "Shabbos". This is a weekly time of encountering our G-d in such a powerful way and it is a great gift that we have been given. Along with the experience of G-d and the holiness of time there is the great gift that we have been given to congregate with friends and family to celebrate together this time with G-d and one another.

G-d is so good and He is given us such a great gift and that is Shabbat.

May you know the joy that is Shabbat this week and each week as we get a forestaste of "yom shekulo shabbat" the unending Shabbat when Messiah will come.

May this be just the beginning of your readings in Heschel.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most informative book on Shabbat., November 2, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
I read this book some time ago, and was fascinated by the depth of his understanding of the Sabbath. I am a convert to Judaism, and this book was invaluable to me; especially since I was searching for a better understanding of Sabbath rest. I treasure this book because I think just one reading of it is not enough. One can reread the book and still find new (or preiously overlooked) truths.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Sabbath, January 3, 2007
This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
This is a thoughtfully written reflection on the meaning of the Sabbath that is appropriate for both Christians and Jews. The book is wonderful for spiritual reading and reflection. It adds depth and meaning to our worship and praise of God. Written by a deeply spiritual man the Sabbath is a great resouce for anyone who wants to deepen and expand their relationship with God.
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The Sabbath
The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel (Paperback - August 17, 2005)
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