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Essay on the View of the Sabbath and Its Significance by Abraham Joshua Heschel

Date:  2021-05-27 15:57:16
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According to Abraham Joshua Heschel, he identifies the Sabbath as a day to celebrate holiness. He developed the story of Genesis. To Abraham, it is during the Sabbath that God Sanctifies sins. He goes further to describe and liken the reality itself to intangible objects which we understand they occupy space (Heschel, & Schor, 1995). Sabbath was implying holy; it is neither an object nor a place but rather a sacred time that was to be obeyed. He defends his argument strongly. He claims no opposition against labor laws while stressing on abandoning other work on the Sabbath day, but rather lays a strong base of defense by arguing that a thing doesn't attach meaning to a moment, but a moment gives significance to a thing.

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Additionally, Joshua recognizes a Sabbath rest as an appreciation to eternity. However, condemns avoidance of duties and other crucial activities as not the wish of God. In the story of the creation of things in the beginning of the world, he points out that God finished the work of creation on the sixth day and not on the 7th day. He called the seventh-day "menuha" because the world was complete and it only needed a moment of peace and stillness. His efforts try to create harmony between work and rest. He calls the Sabbath as "an armistice" that creates harmony between man and the real world.

According to the view of Joshua about the Sabbath day, it is significant to note that it is not the grace of man that makes the Sabbath holy but the first sanctification seventh day by God. More so, he emphasizes the importance of having the sacred time rather than the sacred place because sacred places existed before during Judaism. He notes that holy time is intrinsically holy than a holy place that can be destroyed anytime such as ruined temples in Jerusalem. Thus, Sabbath day to Heschel means gaining freedom from forces of the world that destroy the humanity against God.

Jewish Belief about the Nature of God

According to Joshua, in his adorable writing, "Man is not alone," gives an account on how the Jewish person understands the nature of God. Judaism believes that God is radically different from the nature of human beings. Therefore, to erase the menace of religious mistrust and lack of faith, the Jewish thought that God is one. He awakened the need for the humanity to do God's work as partners in creation since the human beings have the capacity to fulfill the will of God. Therefore, committing a sin is the failure of the humanity to satisfy the God's will. The nature of God, therefore, requires that the humanity should love mercy, honesty and observe the Sabbath as a holy day.

On the other hand, Rabbi Josephs describes the Jewish belief as halakha. It implies the ability to fulfill and obey the spiritual law. It is only through "Halakha" that religious practice could be based on (Joseph, 1992). He advocates for individual self- creation to fulfill the assigned role by God. Despite the brilliance of his work, Rabbi Josephs uses false arguments that demonize the Jewish views about the nature of God as cold and lacking space for piety. In another great work of RABBI Joseph named "the lonely man of Faith." He identifies two types of humanity characters, a nobleman who understands his environment well and a covenantal man who obeys the divine law. However, he believes that God is the creator of all human beings and gave them a life full of meaning and dignity.

According to Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, a religious humanist, and naturalist, he believes Judaism is closely related to Unitarianism and humanism. He stresses that life is worthy living than being dead. He advocated for modernization of the Jewish views about the nature of God. Jewish believe the man was created in the image of God, endorsing him as a real personality. Contrary to Kaplan, he believes that God is a total of all natural forces that led to the formation of self-fulfilled human beings. Another contrast arose between Jewish views and Kaplan argument; Jewish believes personal salvation only occurs when one repents his or her sins to receive forgiveness from God, however, to Kaplan, personal salvation is the value attached to life. Furthermore, he claims that the nature of God should be described in original and humanistic terms rather using the God's qualities which are Unfounded scientifically. He describes God as quality in the universe, goodness within and around us, and organizing forces that made cosmos out of trouble. It is therefore of a culture of reconstruction that was noted in Jewish people over an extended period of time.

Franz Rosenzweig Philosophy and Writing

During the world war one, Rosenzweig joined the military and worked in the section of an anti-aircraft gun. Due to little demands of the job, he was able to engage in studies that allowed him to exchange letters with Rosenzweig Huessy, a co-theologist, and shared information about the problem facing Judaism and Christianity. More so, Franz got inspired by the Jewish and Christian theology of the 20th century to write a book called, "total renewal of thinking." In his book, he gave a reflection on the human finitude and experiences which led to existentialism and selfhood. Besides this, he was able to collaborate with Martin Buber and was successfully able to translate the Bible into the German language. He later abandoned his academic career and started teaching in the Frankfurt Jewish community. Despite his suffering from paralysis, he was able to live a philosophical legacy. He wrote a heroic work about the modern Jewish philosophy in his book named, "the star of redemption." He analyzed the biblical contexts that gave an account of the Bible as a written text (Rosenzweig, & Glatzer, 1998). The star represented Christianity and Judaism as forms of community that enable humanity to get eternity into reality.

In his paralytic life, he made a lot of writings about biblical thought, religious faith, and intellectual clarity. Although he died in 1929, his remarkable philosophy and insightful book have influenced the growth of Jewish Religion positively.

Effects of Mordecai Kaplan Teachings on Jewish Community

The Mordecai's initial great work on Judaism as a civilization condemned the mainstream ideas of the current Jewish campaigns and called for rebuilding a Jewish life again. As a result, the publishing of Jewish reconstruction journal has enhanced leadership in non-orthodox American Jewish communities. A reconstruction Rabbinic College was opened in Philadelphia in 1968 with a curriculum that enabled the teaching of Judaism in colleges (Breslauer, Goldsmith, & Scult, 1992). Kaplan conservative nature of studying the Jewish history scientifically led to the support of Zionism and unity of Jewish community. It has however led to the confusions in the present-day definition of the Judaism as a religion that is evolving. His advocacy, however, aimed at perpetuating the continuity and the existence of the Jewish religious beliefs from one generation into a new generation.

Today, diversity in the Jewish religion is highly appreciated; the leaders are embracing democracy and freedom of worship that recognize individual beliefs. The Jewish community has become universal even in other civilizations like America, thus embracing religious and cultural plurality. It has also strengthened the efforts of having a great worldwide Jewish assembly accommodating all the transnational Jewish communities. Due to the needs new generations, his recommendation to use authoritarianism to explain supernatural things in a humanistic way has helped to maintain religious loyalty and ideals of peace coexistence.


Breslauer, S. D., Goldsmith, E., & Scult, M. (1992), Dynamic Judaism: The Essential Writings of Mordecai M. Kaplan.

Heschel, A. J., & Schor, I. (1995). The Sabbath. Macmillan.

Joseph, B. S. (1992). "The Lonely Man of Faith," A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought, 7.

Rosenzweig, F., & Glatzer, N. N. (1998). Franz Rosenzweig: His life and thought. Hackett Publishing.

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