Recapturing the Original Form

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In the most general sense, the numerous Sabbath laws are an expanding network of minute details deriving from several basic concepts, which eventually create an almost Gothic structure made up of thousands of tiny and meticulously fashioned details clustered around the original form.
— Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud

Whether Rabbi Steinsaltz, a brilliant mind and deeply spiritual man, was critiquing or affirming the complexities shrouding what has come of Sabbath, I am uncertain. Of this much I am certain: many Christians have used the complexities and “legalism” accompanying Sabbath as a cop-out to forget the Sabbath, rather than to remember and observe it as the Commandments assert.

Jesus made a career out of calling us back to “the original form.” When religious leaders gave him a hard time for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus called their attention back to its intent: “The Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath.”

And, that’s as far as many of us go. We state that the Sabbath was made for us, and our attitude toward it is the polar extreme in missing the point that the Pharisees succumbed to. On one end, the Sabbath became so wrapped in details that the original form was lost. On the other end, we’ve paid no attention to Sabbath at all, so the original form is lost. Either way, we’ve lost.

Anyhow, I’m not sure whether I’d prefer to get wrapped around the axle of religious details or forsake any attempt at religious practice at all. Thankfully, there’s another option - recapture the original form.

For those interested, I highly recommend Lynne Baab’s book Sabbath Keeping. It’ll set your heart’s rhythm back to the beat of creation and Creator.

Tommy BrownComment