Thursday, March 28, 2024

"Every one that keepeth the sabbath..."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman died yesterday. The news is full of quotations from across the political spectrum, reflecting the respect in which he was held. David Klinghoffer, co-author of The Gift of Rest, writes of him:
Some qualities of a human being can only be captured by resorting to Yiddish. For Senator Joe Lieberman, who died much too young at age 82, the word is “edel.” Leo Rosten’s hilarious dictionary-like classic, The Joys of Yiddish, defines it as “gentle, sensitive, refined,” or “shy, modest, humble.” It rhymes with “cradle.”
Lieberman was an orthodox Jew. The Gift of Rest is about the Sabbath. These quotations are from the first chapter:
This book is for both Jews and non-Jews, whatever their personal religious observances may be, because the fourth commandment and its gift of Sabbath rest were given to all people. In fact, as we go along you’ll see that the Sabbath provides answers to the most difficult questions people of all faiths have asked themselves for generations: How did I get here? Does anyone care how I behave? What will happen to me after I die?

The prophet Isaiah taught beautifully about a future time when everyone will observe the Sabbath:
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it. .... Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. (Isaiah 56:6–7)
Then in the concluding verses of his book, Isaiah pictures how it will be in that blessed future:
And it shall come to pass, that every new moon, and every Sabbath, shall all flesh come to bow down to the ground before Me, says the Lord. (Isaiah 66:23) ....
...[T]he Sabbath is not an all or nothing proposition. It offers to enrich your life and give you rest in direct proportion to how much of its spirit and practice you choose to incorporate into your life. But I warn you: a single taste of Sabbath can lead you to want more. ....

Many people have asked, “Why does the Sabbath day begin with the coming of night?” In our familiar weekday world, some view the day beginning at midnight. Others think of it as beginning at sunrise—a new day, a new sun. In Colonial times, many Americans followed the Jewish way of thinking on this. According to the historian Benson Bobrick, the Christian Sabbath was then regarded as beginning at sundown Saturday night. Some early American Christians also concluded their Sabbath as Jews customarily conclude theirs—at the appearance of three stars on Sunday evening. .... (the book at Amazon)

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