Week 2 – Beyond Civilization

The solution of mankind’s most vexing problem will not be found in renouncing technical civilization, but in attaining some degree of independence of it.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, pg 28

Read and Reflect

This week read Chapter 2 – Beyond Civilization.

Heschel describes Sabbath as “an island of stillness where man may enter a harbor and reclaim his dignity.” pg 29

What does your harbor look like, for real or in your imagination?

Our “authentic state,” says Heschel, is blessedness. It does not matter whether or not we are learned, wether or not our career is successful, whether we succeed or fail in reaching our goals.” On Sabbath we glimpse eternity. pg 30

What would it mean to you to put aside the judgments of the world for a day and accept the way God sees you?

Heschel asserts that “the duty to work for six days is just as much a part of God’s covenant with man as the duty to abstain from work on the seventh day.” Thus Sabbath is an affirmation of labor. pg 28.

What did your family, especially the older members like grandparents, teach you about work?

Sabbath is a “conscious harmony of man and the world,” says Heschel. It is a day when all that is divine is brought into union with God. pg 31.-2

What in your life most needs to be brought into union with God?

Closing essay

“Confessions of A Doer” by Carrie Newcomer.

More resources for Sabbath

Heschel’s Vision of the Sabbath: A Contemporary Challenge

Rabbi Or Rose explains that Abraham Heschel thinks the greatest challenge facing the modern Western world is the loss of a sense of the sacred. In our haste to gain political and economic power we have forgotten that God calls us to be co-creators with the Divine in the establishment of a just and compassionate world. A good summary of the book we are reading.

Read the essay.

Sab­bath is the Cli­max of Living

When camp counselor Marva Dawn was suddenly called upon to lead an extra session on a Sunday, she had to figure out how to do that without breaking her own rule about not working on the Sabbath.

Read the reflection.

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