This has been by far the most important book I’ve read this year.
I was assigned to teach a lesson at church about the Sabbath, or the religious practice of making one day a week sacred. I was given this great talk “The Sabbath Is A Delight” by LDS Apostle Russell M. Nelson.
I continued my search after studying that and the scriptures. I found my way across a quote that struck me not as just profound, but life altering.
“Time and space are interrelated. To overlook either of them is to be partially blind. What we plead against is man’s unconditional surrender to space, his enslavement to things. We must not forget that it is not a thing that lends significance to a moment; it is the moment that lends significance to things.”
– Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath
This began my complete obsession with Heschel. Abraham Heschel, was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. His ideas are brilliant and profound.
It launched my quest to understand sanctifying both time and space.
Ironically, I now write this in an airport, on a Sunday, after having worked, purchased food, and missing General Conference. For the non-LDS, all of the above are taboo.
It’s my own fault though. I volunteered and I didn’t look at my calendar closely.
My actions don’t quite yet match my understanding, but I’m comfortable that up until today, my Sabbath observance has meant more and more.
Circumstances are just a little less than ideal today.
I read his book, The Sabbath, and it completely changed the way I think about sanctification and Sabbath practice, worship, and ritual.
My two biggest takeaways from reading this book:
- A sincere appreciation and holy envy for Judaism’s doctrine and consecration of the Sabbath. In Mormonism, we also celebrate and observe our Sabbath day, but the delicate care and appreciation that Heschel describes has fortified my faith and belief.
- The need to make time holy. Regardless of your religious belief or non-belief, there is a deep need to sanctify or to separate time out of our lives for the transcendent, meaningful, and divine. Meditation, prayer, scripture study, and the Sabbath are all portals that we designate to God or the divine to communicate with us.
Anyway, it’s a great read.
I’ll just catch General Conference on my day off tomorrow.