Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sabbath” as Want to Read:
The Sabbath
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sabbath

by
4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  2,356 Ratings  ·  214 Reviews
Elegant, passionate, and filled with the love of God's creation, Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Sabbath has been hailed as a classic of Jewish spirituality ever since its original publication--and has been read by thousands of people seeking meaning in modern life. In this brief yet profound meditation on the meaning of the Seventh Day, Heschel, one of the most widely respec ...more
Hardcover, 118 pages
Published January 1st 1951 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sabbath, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Steven van Hasselt Elegant, passionate, and filled with the love of God's creation, Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Sabbath has been hailed as a classic of Jewish…moreElegant, passionate, and filled with the love of God's creation, Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Sabbath has been hailed as a classic of Jewish spirituality ever since its original publication-and has been read by thousands of people seeking meaning in modern life. In this brief yet profound meditation on the meaning of the Seventh Day, Heschel introduced the idea of an "architecture of holiness" that appears not in space but in time Judaism, he argues, is a religion of time: it finds meaning not in space and the material things that fill it but in time and the eternity that imbues it, so that "the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals."(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kilian Metcalf
Jan 19, 2014 Kilian Metcalf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could feel the gears shifting in my head as I read this Jewish classic on the importance of sanctifying time instead of space. I'm sure I barely scratched the surface of the concepts that Heschel wishes to communicate. To plumb the depths will require rereading and reflection. It's a small book, packed with meaning, and one I will revisit again and again.
Julie Davis
Mar 04, 2012 Julie Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuing my education on the third commandment and why we need to take it seriously. Ok, I'm already converted to the concept and live it to the best of my ability ... but I want to elevate it in my mind and heart (if that makes sense). I think Heschel would understand what I want to do because this book is obviously written for that concept. Although I have to admit that the three rabbis parable is leaving me a bit stranded as it goes on for some time.

I meant to add that observing the sacred
...more
Michelle Jones
Jul 30, 2010 Michelle Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the most poetic book that isn’t actually poetry I’ve ever read. Heschel was in love with the Sabbath. Seriously in love with it and its place within Judaism and the world. This 100 page book is love song to it. When I took the Big Dunk one of the questions my Beit Din asked me was what particular observance meant the most to me and I said Shabbat. At the time my Shabbat observance was only a fraction of what it is now but even then it really was a sanctification of time for me.

Now Shabba
...more
Melody
Dec 31, 2016 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
Heschel teaches me much about sacramentality and liturgy in my own Christian tradition by guiding me to a richer understanding of how the Jewish tradition understands the sacredness of time as a gift of divine presence in the lives of God's people. Lyrical and erudite, the book facilitates Sabbath: reflection on time as a gift rather than an enemy, the true, reliable indicator of God's goodness and presence in the world. "Creation is the language of God, Time is His song..." (101).
Daniel
I really liked this book. As a Christian, reading a Jewish perspective on Sabbath, one that seemed to draw on so much of Jewish tradition that I didn't know of, was a very rich experience for me. At the same time, there were definitely parts I didn't understand, probably because I am looking in from the outside.

Heschel speaks of Sabbath as a "palace in time". In a world where we work with Space, using our time to create things, build, make, the sabbath is a time to cease in our obsession with s
...more
Mary Alice
I'll just post some quotes from the book to make you think:

There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern.

In our daily lives we attend primarily to that which the senses are spelling out for us: to what the eyes perceive, to what the fingers touch. Reality to us is thinghood, consisting
...more
David
Sep 06, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was selected by my Jewish philosophy book club, and on the whole our impression was favorable. However, we thought that it was a bit scattered: it couldn't quite decide whether it was a philosophy, inspiration, kabbalah, legalisms, or what have you. One of us described it as "a cute book."

Heschel's great insight which drives the book is that instead of sanctifying space, Judaism primarily sanctifies time - and the sabbath is the most obvious and clear example of that. He differentiates betw
...more
Melanie
Jan 01, 2016 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. If I could give it more than five stars, I would.
Lisa Feld
There is something both truly lovely and deeply frustrating about this book. In a way, it reminds me of my experience in reading Rumi: beautiful, transformative sentences, but the whole is so unstructured that it's impossible to point to any full poem (or here, a full chapter) as enjoyable, profound, or working well.

Heschel begins with an interesting premise, that humans spend their energy trying to control space, the physical world, while the Sabbath offers us a chance to step outside that para
...more
Amar Pai
One nice thing about religion is that practicing it makes you very aware of the cyclical nature of time. You get attuned to the seasons. There are celebrations of renewal in spring, and festivals of light during the darkest days of winter.

Judaism especially is all about the sanctification of time. It’s been argued that Jews were without a nation for so long that they became “at home only in time.” What is the Sabbath if not an abstract cathedral erected each Saturday?

Heschel wrote the poetical b
...more
Jonathan
Aug 01, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: judaism
Abraham Heschel who was Professor of Ethics and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary, wrote this, his most famous work on how the Shabbat appears not in space, but rather in time. That is to say that we experience holiness in time and the eternity that imbues it and not in material things or places. And the Shabbat is Judaism's greatest "temple." This slim volume is a spiritual rendering of the Shabbat's significance. A must for those who seek to understand Judaism and it's holy days.
Erica
Oct 28, 2007 Erica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
A dear friend and mentor reccommended this book to me quite a while ago, and I've only now finished it. It's beautiful and thought provoking and quite often challenging all at the same time. A few gems: "Time to us is sarcasm, a slick treacherous monster with a jaw like a furnace incinerating every moment of our lives." "Eternity utters a day."
Elijah Kinch Spector
Nov 19, 2015 Elijah Kinch Spector rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a beautiful little book, in that sort of beautiful language that often only comes to those who aren't native speakers.

It puts such a lovely emphasis on time, and letting it stand still, and on spirituality without going fully into mysticism. I think that even many who aren't Jewish, or aren't religious at all, could get a lot out of it.
David
Dec 11, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful and profound book. It is too bad that most people will miss it.
Heather
Aug 28, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious
I think there is a lot that we can all learn from Judaism, particularly about the importance, blessings, and purpose of observing the Sabbath. The way they honor the Sabbath is remarkable and causes me to pause and think about my devotion and commitment to God. This is a short and interesting book that contains some helpful insights into their beliefs.

I thought the discussion of space and time was particularly interesting. We focus so much on things and places in this life, but they can get in
...more
Janaka
Nov 06, 2016 Janaka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heschel's The Sabbath is inarguably a modern classic on how the meaning of the Sabbath on contemporary Judaism, but more than that it is a lyric, almost elegiac meditation on what he refers to as the "palace in time" that we build through our observance of the Sabbath. The book starts beautifully--and would be I think of interest to anyone interested in a kind of mystic poetics of time. Somewhere in the middle of the book (which is only about 100 pages), Heschel's writing becomes less lyric as h ...more
Homeschoolmama
Oct 21, 2016 Homeschoolmama rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was probably one of the most inspiring books I've read. A short book, it is full of rich, deep truths and insights. Heschel talks at length about time and space, and leads the reader into some philosophical worlds which are exciting and new. The meaning of the Sabbath- rest, holiness, sanctuary and peace- is explored and delved into here, like no other book I've read on the subject. The only parts where I got a bit lost were when Heschel would quote from works by other rabbis- texts I was u ...more
Peter
Dec 12, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I found this book transformative not only in the way I look at the Sabbath but also in how God relates to us in time and space.

To quote Abraham Joshua Heschel:

"Things created [the stuff of space] conceal the Creator. It is the dimension of time wherein mans meets God, wherein man becomes aware that every instant is an act of creation, a Beginning, opening up new roads for ultimate realizations. Time is the presence of God in the world of space..."
Joey Diamond
Dec 26, 2016 Joey Diamond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Time to us is sarcasm, a slick treacherous monster with a jaw like a furnace incinerating every moment of our lives. Shrinking, therefore, from facing time, we escape for shelter to things of space. The intentions we are unable to carry out we deposit in space; possessions become the symbols of our repressions, jubilees of frustrations. But things of space are not fireproof; they only add fuel to the flames.”
Rebecca
Oct 20, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish
I'd read this book many years ago, right when I decided that I MIGHT be interested in keeping Shabbos. Picking it up at the library, I wondered how well it would hold up now that I'm Orthodox and have been keeping Shabbos strictly for 18 years.

It's a revelation. Not only does it really hold water for someone who is Orthodox - Rabbi Heschel was Conservative - but his writing is so poetic, I was in raptures. Just a lovely book.
Simon
Oct 29, 2016 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short read and very beautiful but even for a short book, quite redundant. Basically Shabbat gives us spirituality and control over time. Other religions build temples to space.
Russell Lackey
Oct 17, 2016 Russell Lackey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book!
Jon Stephens
Aug 01, 2011 Jon Stephens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
http://jonathanstephens.wordpress.com/

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was a scholar, author, activist, and Jewish theologian. While browsing on amazon.com for books on the sabbath I came across this one. Let me say from the start that although Heschel comes from a fairly different point of view when it comes to God and the Bible, and uses extra-biblical sources to build his theology on sabbath, I took a great deal from this book.

From the start Heschel pushes his readers to take their eyes off
...more
Meltha
This is one of those books that is very difficult to describe in some respects, but the reader can feel it sort of blanketing their thoughts, raising questions, and making him or her think about things that really never would have otherwise occurred without reading the book.

In college, I took a course on literature that dealt with time theory. This would have been a perfect match because while Heschel centers on the concept of the Sabbath as sacred outside of the world of space (pretty much a sy
...more
Tanner Cooper-Risser
Great read. Very deep and very good. I plan to refer back to this and will likely read many times. So much depth in such a short book. It definitely helps one understand the Jewish understanding of Sabbath. Analyzes the differences of time and space and how Judaism is a religion of time. So often we try to control space, but in the realm of time "the goal is not to have, but to be, not to own, but to give, not to control, but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord." Highly recommend. Great ...more
Chad
Jul 01, 2014 Chad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I came across The Sabbath while reading The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. I enjoyed the first half of the book (particularly Heschel's observations about space and time), but I was hoping for more practical advice for how some of these principles should be applied (however, I fully acknowledge that I may have been looking for answers that the text never intended to answer). Also, I enjoyed Heschel's poetic style, but it sometimes covered the reality that he wasn't really saying much at times or ...more
Tamara Hill Murphy
Another book from my neglected book pile. Even though I'd always meant to read it because Abraham Joshua Heschel is quoted by almost every author I've ever read (usually from this book), I'll admit it was seeing an image of the cover art that finally got me to purchase the book. The prints of wood engravings by Ilya Schor on the cover and at the beginning of each chapter provide an elegance to Heschel's graceful words about the beauty of Sabbath time to Jewish faith and life. Heschel's words are ...more
Sonny
Jan 06, 2015 Sonny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
My expectation in reading Heschel’s book on “The Sabbath” was to gain insights into the Sabbath day from a Jewish perspective. I was sorely disappointed. Heschel is more philosopher than theologian. Consequently, many of his expressed thoughts do not have the support of Scripture. Heschel does not claim that the book is an exposition of Old Testament teaching on the Sabbath; in fact, his statements often are in direct contradiction of the Bible. He uses Scripture only when it highlights his thou ...more
Larry Piper
This is a short, rather interesting reflection on the institution of the Sabbath, as in "remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy". It was written by a Jewish scholar, so is specifically related to the Sabbath as celebrated by Jewish people. But, it has some interesting ideas and concepts that people of other faiths might find helpful as they try to understand and relate to their Creator.

The lives of men, according to Heschel, are primarily lived on a structural (physical) plane, i.e. we build
...more
Olivia
May 22, 2011 Olivia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sheila
Again, this was recommended by my rabbi friend, and because I'm not Jewish obviously some parts of this were more and less resonant with me. But I did grow up in a Christian household, where we had a similar Sunday concept (I realise not the same for lots of reasons, but this sense of the Sabbath or Sunday as a holy space), so there was a fair amount of resonance. I liked the writing because it is Heschel, and I liked the idea of the Sabbath as an encounter with the divine.

--- QUOTES I LIKED --
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History
  • Back to the Sources
  • Choosing a Jewish Life: A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends
  • The Lonely Man of Faith
  • Jewish With Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice
  • Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide
  • To Pray As A Jew: A Guide To The Prayer Book And The Synagogue Service
  • Everyman's Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages
  • The Thirteen Petalled Rose: A Discourse on the Essence of Jewish Existence and Belief
  • Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals
  • The Beginning of Desire
  • Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective
  • How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household
  • To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking
  • This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation
  • As a Driven Leaf
  • Tales of the Hasidim, Vols 1-2
  • To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility
5545
Heschel was a descendant of preeminent rabbinic families of Europe, both on his father's (Moshe Mordechai Heschel, who died of influenza in 1916) and mother's (Reizel Perlow Heschel) side, and a descendant of Rebbe Avrohom Yehoshua Heshl of Apt and other dynasties. He was the youngest of six children including his siblings: Sarah, Dvora Miriam, Esther Sima, Gittel, and Jacob. In his teens he recei ...more
More about Abraham Joshua Heschel...

Share This Book



No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“To gain control of the world of space is certainly one of our tasks. The danger begins when in gaining power in the realm of space we forfeit all aspirations in the realm of time. There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern.” 10 likes
“The Sabbath is the day on which we learn the art of surpassing civilization.” 6 likes
More quotes…