An Approach to a 'Hard' Jewish Law: Sabbath Observance
What if I find dignity and freedom in working and resting
whenever I want?
Shabbat is the only ritual commandment among the 10 commandments and-- as far
as I know-- the only ritual commandment (commandments between God and
man) the prophets railed against its non-observance.
it's THE ritual link to the non-ritual / ethical / moral commandments.
say that I fail at a moral test-- which is really a test given by God;
therefore I have not only failed myself and the person or society, but I
have failed God as well.
I am now naked and ashamed. What do I do? Slough off God and the commandments?
Not so fast.
I can redeem myself through a ritual, which is the only ritual--
remember-- that is in the 10 Commandments, and the only ritual that the prophets
railed against its non-observance.
What does my moral / ethical failure
represent? A lack of faith in God. How? Because if I really trusted
God, I would have allowed myself to move courageously into the
do-the-right-thing zone and let the chips fall where they may by performing the famous 'leap of faith'. But I
didn't, and so I now mourn in my nakedness and shame ('dust and ashes').
is at this vulnerable point -- a point that many defect to Christianity
because it holds out a get out of jail (the Commandments) free card -- that the Sabbath
stands as a sentinel to remind (zakhor!) us that we can return to some
semblance of dignity by REDEEMING OUR FAITHLESSNESS IN GOD BY HAVING
FAITH IN GOD THROUGH OBSERVANCE (shamor!) OF THE SABBATH, WHICH IS
REALLY ONE DAY IN WHICH WE CEASE 'TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS' IN ORDER TO
RITUALLY SHOW OUR FAITH THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE.
It's as if the coward has a second chance in a simulated area in which he can redeem his failure to 'leap' with a more modest 'step of faith'.
is from this simulated moral victory that gives us the rest in order
to come back to the real moral world (or at least be able to show our
face in it, instead of hiding in shame).
I have still failed
morally (the real moral test in the real world), but I have at least
stayed within Judaism / the Tora, which has offered me a rest and
dignity through a simulated moral test.