Monday, December 23, 2019
Arriving at my destination a day later than planned, this past Thursday evening, created, that is, left in it’s wake, the need for a busier than usual preparation day, before candle lighting Friday evening. Yet, when Shabbos (the Sabbath) begins, a twenty-five hour time zone of rest is entered. Preparation makes the day; and, everything else fades away, as if the worries and cares of the week are incongruent with the peaceful frame of mind that seems to take precedent with the arrival of the seventh day.
There is a teaching that the more effort one puts into the week, the greater one’s sense of rest will be on the Sabbath. Time is sanctified, souls are renewed, and focus on what is most meaningful in life is restored. Another teaching has to do with the after-effect of a day of rest throughout the mundane weekdays. So, it is as if there is a reciprocal relationship between the two: effort during the week leads to a peaceful Shabbat; a pleasant rest will diminish cares and anxieties during the week.
Yet, Abraham Heschel would insist that the Sabbath stands alone as a testimony to itself – “an island in time.” According to Heschel, the week days are for the sake of the Sabbath, considered as a “climax in time.” This makes sense to me; even people in the so-called “secular world,” who are working during the week with the expectation of enjoying the weekend, are thinking in similar terms. As I begin the week, I am already looking forward to the sublime peace that is often glimpsed on the Sabbath – the peace of Olam Haba (the World to Come).