“The Sabbath” by Abraham Joshua Heschel, page 18
“The seventh day ... is a truce in all conflicts, personal and social; peace between humans, humans and nature, peace within humans.” “To set apart one day a week for freedom, a day on which we would not use the instruments which have been so easily turned into weapons of destruction, a day for being with ourselves, a day of ... independence of external obligations, a day on which we stop worshiping the idols of technical civilization, a day on which we use no money, a day of armistice in the economic struggle with [other people] and the forces of nature--is there any institution that holds out a greater hope for [humanity]'s progress than the Sabbath?” [Edited for gender neutrality]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What is the essence of Shabbat, for Heschel? Do you think he is following the same reasons that the Bible gives, or adding his own understanding?

2. Do you agree that Shabbat is essentially a universal concept that offers hope for humanity?

3. If one follows Heschel’s ideas, do you think there should be a set of laws accompanying the observance of Shabbat? If yes, what should those laws be?

Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)