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The Sabbath (FSG Classics) Paperback – July 28, 2005
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“Heschel's The Sabbath is easily the primary text for all subsequent American Jewish Spirituality.” ―Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author of God Was In This Place
“Clearly Heschel's most beloved book, The Sabbath is much more than a book about the Sabbath. It is, rather, our century's most illuminating study of the dynamics of Jewish ritual living.” ―Dr. Neil Gillman, author of Sacred Fragments
“Timeless. Read it, and be ready to be changed.” ―The Revered Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief of First Things
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
"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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent! Arrived early AND was described by seller as it actually was!Published 12 days ago by Michael Singer
I have enjoy the reading, but Of course I was expecting more...!Published 24 days ago by Kindle Customer
Excellent price relative to new; pristine copy; ordered on Wednesday/received on Saturday.Published 24 days ago by MN reader
This book was recommended by mi rabbi and I was delighted to read. It brings you back in time but it also teaches you that tradition is not only dwelling in the past but savoring... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Taltaltula
The Sabbath as a place in time to restore the soul and the world. A beautiful, brilliant work of philosophy and spirituality.Published 1 month ago by Garry Richard Stein
The Sabbath seeks to find meaning of the weekly celebration for the servant of The Lord in a contemporary setting. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C.H.E. Sadaphal
Opened my mind about recognizing Shabbat and gave me a guide to living it.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The Jewish sanctification of time! A good read for anyone who wishes to create a spiritual moment in their life.Published 2 months ago by William S. Stone