Abraham Yehoshua Heschel
Passages about Shabbat
The Shabbat – Meaning for Modern Man
The Shabbat as the Peak of Existence
Shabbat is not the cessation of existence but its peak.
The Lord did three things on the seventh day, as it states in the Torah: "And He ceased all of his work on the seventh day... and he blessed the seventh day and he consecrated it. (Genesis 2, 2-3) cessation of work, blessing, sanctification.
The prohibition of labor was accompanied by the pleasure of the blessing and the feeling of holiness.
Not only do the hands of man observe the Shabbat but so does his tongue and his soul. His speech on Shabbat differs from his speech on weekdays...
The Constant Return and Renewal of my Creation
We open the Kiddush of Friday nights with the words " And the heavens and the earth and all their hosts were complete". When the week comes to an end, I know that the actions of creation have been restored and renewed in my life.
With the arrival of the Shabbat, I testify that the world of the Holy-One-Blessed-be-He is complete and is created again. On the night of Shabbat, I become an eyewitness to the actions, to the cessation of work and to the rest of G-d as Creator. This is important for me, I can say, even - vital. It does not only express Jewishness but my very human nature instilled in it; the fact that I belong to a world filled with this G-d and my creation in the image of G-d, which is constantly revived and renewed.