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"The Sabbath" Book Report

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Book Review

"The Sabbath"

By Abraham Joshua Heschel

Published by HarperCollinsCanadaLtd

Copyright 1951

Kylon Gienger


"The Sabbath" is a detailed coverage of the nature of the Seventh Day. The main idea presented in this book is that the Sabbath is a celebration of time, not space. The concept is that God set aside one day out of the week for us to separate ourselves from space; this world, and just consecrate and enjoy the divine time given to us by God through the Sabbath.

I was able to make it through the first couple chapters of the book in which the author talks about Sabbath as the sanctification of time, not space, and also the notion that the Sabbath is a day of rest, and all other six days are made for work. Before reading this book I had never thought about the Sabbath in regards to time. I had always thought of it in regards to space. As in, the Sabbath is just a day; a space in my week where I don't pursue the world like I do every other day. Now after reading this book I am beginning to realize that space is no match for time. That focusing too much on the things of this world will ultimately lead to suffering, that "time is the heart of existence. And this is one of the main points of the book: that we need to wake up to reality of time instead of space. As Heschel says on page one: "Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space becomes our sole concern.

I love where the author says that the Sabbath is like a "palace in time"; a window where we can see and be close to God. The author says that without the Sabbath the world would only have a distorted view of God as a thing separated from them by space. I do agree with this because we are so used to "thingness" as Heschel calls it. "Reality to us is thinghood", we only know what has substance and takes up space. Because of this, all things that don't hold substance or take up space are almost invisible to us and we have a difficult time understanding them; like time and God for example. I've never realized how badly I undermined and misunderstood time until now...especially when it comes to the Sabbath.

And then there is the issue of working on the Sabbath. I found it interesting that God really does have a desire for you to work those six days, as much as he has a desire for you to rest on the seventh day. Man has this innate want to conquer the world, to create, and to be master of nature, but



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