The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time
By Judith Shulevitz Random House 2010, $26.00, pp. 288
When I recently typed the word "Sabbath" into a keyword search of the Library of Congress' online catalogue, I received a list of 4,215 books on the subject. A similar inquiry of the library system at Columbia University, where I teach, brought forth a slightly higher tally of 4,307. And from Amazon.com, evidently a less discriminating filter, there emerged 120.324 hits.
Even disregarding the biography of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath and Philip Roth's novel Sabbath's Theater, both of which are theological tracts of a more pagan sort, there remains no doubt that the literary ground of the Sabbath has been planted, plowed and harvested long past the point of exhaustion.
Chaim Grade has rendered it as part of a family memoir. Wendell Berry has dealt with it in verse and essay alike. Christians and Jews, blacks and whites, New Agers and fundamentalists all have had their turn. For contemporary Jewish writers and …