Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sabbath

Joe Lieberman will leave the Senate at the end of this Congress and so this book is unlikely to have any ulterior political purpose. The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath is about the Sabbath observance of Orthodox Jews, but its reviews also indicate that it may be of interest to Sabbatarian Christians. This is from Michael Medved's review in the Washington Times:
The purpose of “the gift of rest” in Mr. Lieberman’s view isn’t “to recharge our batteries so we can work harder but to recharge our souls so we can live better.” Citing a wide variety of Jewish sources both ancient and modern, the senator affirms that work and rest form an indissoluble whole. Six days a week we work to improve our world; on the seventh day, we rest to improve ourselves. ....

For secularists, and especially for the great bulk of American Jews who have received scant exposure to the rigors and joys of Orthodox Jewish practice, this informative exploration of the 25 hours of the Sabbath (it begins at sunset but concludes only at full dark) will prove fascinating and rewarding, answering the perpetual questions about how, exactly, observant Jews spend their time while they retreat each week from the insistent demands of the workaday world. ....

The Gift of Rest cites long-ago examples of American presidents who, as devout Christians, observed Sunday restrictions in the White House. Franklin Pierce conducted no business on the Lord’s Day and wouldn’t even allow mail to be opened; Theodore Roosevelt, enthusiastic outdoorsman that he was, refused to hunt or fish on Sunday for religious reasons.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lieberman’s book provides little perspective on how Americans lost this emphasis on following the Sabbath commandments, which, after all, play a prominent role in Christian as well as Jewish versions of the Bible. .... [more]
BOOK REVIEW: 'The Gift of Rest' - Washington Times