The Fourth Commandment, a contemporary look at a cornerstone of Jewish life, explores the Sabbath's origins and purpose, its basis in Jewish texts and traditions, and its meaning for the hurried lives we live today. Even people who have long observed the Sabbath will discover facets they know little about. Beautiful and evocative, the book takes readers on a journey into understanding this sacred day in its many manifestations. Acclaimed writer and lecturer Francine Klagsbrun draws on her extensive knowledge of Judaism and personal experience in applying the profound lessons of the Sabbath to life today. Using the Bible, Talmud, Kabbalah, commentaries, and legends, she probes such questions as "What does Sabbath rest entail?" "How do we let go of our work mentally and strive for holiness?" and "What does the Sabbath teach us about our relationship to nature and the environment?" She also examines the Sabbath from a female perspective, raising challenging questions about women's roles in relation to it. With warmth and erudition, she explains the "dos" and "don'ts" surrounding the Sabbath, the symbols of the Sabbath table, and the highlights of the day.
The Fourth Commandment is rich in history and commentary--investigating the symbolic importance of candlelighting (early mystics saw the two lighted candles as masculine and feminine aspects of God), the significance of Friday-night marital sex, the affirmation of freedom and celebration of creation that run through the day, and much more. This is a book for the contemporary seeker, at all levels of religious knowledge. FRANCINE KLAGSBRUN is the author of more than a dozen books on social and religious issues, including Jewish Days, Voices of Wisdom, and Mixed Feelings, and was the editor of the bestselling Free to Be...You and Me. She is a columnist for The Jewish Week and Moment magazine and has contributed numerous articles to national publications. Among many awards, she holds an honorary doctorate degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She and her family live in New York City. "Workaholics be warned.
The Sabbath asserts that people have the right to limit their work, thus offering "a balance to the bonds of boundless labor, an opportunity one day a week to shut down the phones and faxes and re-connect instead with family and friends and with oneself," writes Klagsbrun (Jewish Days). The Sabbath is not just part of the weekend; Klagsbrun says it is the essence of the week, a transformative 24-hour period that transcends time and space. Its emphasis on rest and sanctity for every person offers "the finest path to spiritual nourishment" and a focus for personal, communal and universal freedom. To examine its depth, texture and meaning as a central feature of Jewish life and thought, Klagsbrun presents personal anecdotes, biblical, Talmudic, modern and classical commentators, midrash and mystical sources, Biblical scholarship and criticism, and women's perspectives. She quotes eclectically from Philip Roth and Israeli poet Zelda to the Babylonian epic Enuma Elish. The themes she tackles include the enchantment of light, the laws of Shabbat, the importance of the number seven; women at the center of the mystical Sabbath; and the concept of the "Sabbath gentile."
Though tension is inevitable in a day that treads the fine line between spiritual ideals and rigorous rules, the "liberation it offers and the limitations it imposes" together create space to "make room for time itself." This book presents a gentle introduction for anyone who, like Klagsbrun, desires a weekly mini-vacation from the "infinite cacophony, competition and commotion of the world around us." Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --Publishers Weekly "Enchanting time with eternal moment, this gentle, luminous meditation on the Sabbath evokes the very day it celebrates." -The Reverend Forrest Church, Author of Bringing God Home "Written with her usual warmth and evocative talent, Francine Klagsbrun offers in these ancient tales and personal memories an insight into the enchanting world of the Sabbath, a sacred time filled with song and serenity." -Elie Weisel
Publisher: Argo-Navis US