EVERY SEVENTH SUNSET, Shabbat comes. Whether heralded or not, welcomed or not, on the eve of the seventh day Shabbat comes. Brushed with the dew of Creation, Shabbat is different from the other Jewish holidays. It does not mark a historical event or a seasonal harvest. It is not dependent upon the phases of the moon, and it existed even before there was a Jewish people.
Shabbat is, as it were, G-d’s holiday, the eternal seventh day of Creation,
the day of completion and rest…
Shabbat is not just for Jews; it is for everyone. The whole world is invited, indeed deserves to celebrate this day of menuchah**, Jews and non-Jews, old and young, poor and rich, bosses and laborers. In G-d’s world, everyone is equal, and everyone can share in the vision.***
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* Oil painting by Ligtenberg, Blue and White Gallery, Jerusalem
** What is menucha? “After the six days of creation-what did the universe still lack? Menucha. Came the Sabbath, came menucha, and the universe was complete… To the biblical mind menucha is the same as happiness and stillness, as peace and harmony. The word with which Job described the state after life he was longing for is derived from the same root as menucha. It is the state wherein man lies still, wherein the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. It is the state in which there is no strife and no fighting, no fear and no distrust. The essence of a good life is menucha.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters” (the waters of menuchot). In later times menucha became a synonym for the life in the world to come, for eternal life.”
– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
*** Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, The Tapestry of Jewish Time A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events, pg. 35