Synagogue Reading: The Sabbath, by Abraham Joshual Heschel
All this Jewish year, Rabbi Benson will read and discuss with congregants The Sabbath by A. J. Heschel following minchah services every Saturday. For those unable to make it then, the rabbi's weekly article will be a brief summary of the pages we covered. To order the book for yourself, go to PURCHASE THE SABBATH:
"The Architecture of Time," the Prologue, pages 3-5. "There is much enthusiasm for the idea that God is present in the universe, but that idea is taken to mean His presence in space rather than in time, in nature rather than in history; as if He were a thing, not a spirit."
Forgiving Heschel's use of masculine pronouns when referring to God in the book he wrote in 1951, the idea that we missing the point about God when we make God a "thing" in "space" even a really big thing, is key to Heschel's goals in the opening pages of The Sabbath.
Heschel sets up the idea for us that human beings live both in the "world of space" - of things and technology and controling and owning, but also in "the world of time" - of being, of sharing, of giving. We need both but Heschel feels we lose something vital when we live only in the world of space.
We love something of our humanity when we strive only to want more and more from the world of space, but this isn't even the worst. We also lose a true sense of what it is to be alive, of what really matters. This is no more apparent in Heschel's introduction to us, even in these first few pages, to the notion that the world of space leads us to consider God as merely one more "thing" that we can choose to control or throw away, like so many other things we tirelessly pursue only to tire of.
Come find out more this Saturday. Minchah services will be at 5:35 and our discussion will follow at about 5:50. Rabbi Benson