The Sabbath and Man is not Alone by Abraham Heschel Essay

The Sabbath and Man is not Alone by Abraham Heschel Essay

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Abraham Heschel is a prominent Jewish scholar who was an active contributor in the Civil Rights movement and wrote a several books like The Sabbath and Man is not Alone, which examine the relationship humanity has with God and the relationship that the Jewish people have with God. Throughout Heschel’s The Sabbath, he explains the Sabbath tradition of the Jewish people, and in Man is not Alone he aims to guide readers through divine revelation, but how do these two pieces of Jewish literature compare to one another and more importantly, how can they coincide with one another?


Heschel explains the Sabbath as a spiritual rhythm of life. When he talks about the day of rest, or menuha, he says its not simply about ceasing labor: “Menuha which we usually render with ‘rest’ means here much more than withdrawal from labor and exertion, more than freedom from toil and strain or activity of any kind. Menuha is not a negative concept but something real and intrinsically positive” . Heschel believed the Sabbath rest was a positive thing, and was the purpose and pinnacle of labor. He said that we work in our everyday lives in order for us to take a day of rest in which we reflect in quietness and rest to God. He references a passage in Isaiah that says, “In quietness and rest is your strength…” "Labor without dignity is the cause of misery; rest without the spirit the source of depravity" .

The preservation of the Sabbath is one of the most important aspects of the Jewish Culture and religion. By abiding by the Sabbath, the Jewish people have a distinctive way of connecting with God. The Jewish religion is unique to other religions; in other religions, temples and churches are built as holy space, but Judaism builds a church to God in t...


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...hen someone is looking for a faith with answers and insight directly connected to God. Jews, however, should look through both of his works in an equal manner, because in a lot of ways, they work together to train the reader how to live a religiously devout life. Honoring the Sabbath is a way to gather yourself and re-focus your moral compass, while directing your rest towards God. And it is through that rest, that we can connect with the divine by shedding our desires and submitting ourselves to God’s embrace.



Works Cited

Dorff, Elliot N., and Louis E. Newman. Contemporary Jewish Theology: A Reader. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.

Heschel, Abraham Joshua. Man Is Not Alone; a Philosophy of Religion. New York: Farrar, Straus & Young, 1951. Print.

Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Sabbath, Its Meaning for Modern Man. New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1951. Print.

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