Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel described Shabbat as a day that asks us “to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation, from the world of creation to the creation of the world” (The Sabbath).
When we observe Shabbat we neither produce nor consume. We acknowledge and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world around us. We eat good food, enjoy the company of friends and family, devote time to study and prayer, and slow down enough to see what is good in nature and valuable in the communities we have built.
In a society that functions 24/7, even minimal Shabbat observance sometimes seems to contradict everything around us. For some people, it might feel radical to insist that something bigger than all of us requires us to change our pace and be grateful and humble once a week. Yet, as Heschel asked about the Sabbath: “Is there any other institution that holds out as much hope for (humanity’s) progress?”