A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath

A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath

A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath

A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath

Synopsis

The Sabbath is the original feast day, a day of joy and freedom from work, a holy day that allows us to reconnect with God, our fellows and nature. Now, in a compelling blend of journalism, scholarship and personal memoir, Christopher D. Ringwald examines the Sabbath from Creation to the present, weaving together the stories of three families, three religions and three thousand years of history.
A Day Apartis the first book to examine the Sabbath in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A marvelously readable book, it offers a fascinating portrait of the basics of the three Sabbaths--the MuslimJumaon Friday, the JewishShabbaton Saturday and the Christian Lord's Day on Sunday--and introduces us to three families, including Ringwald's own, and shows how they observe the holy day and what it means to them. The heart of the book recounts the history of the Sabbath, ranging from the Creation story and Moses on Mount Sinai, to the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad, the impact of the Protestant Reformation and the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of the modern weekend. Ringwald shows that the Sabbath instinct, to observe a special day of withdrawal and repose, is universal. Indeed, all religions and philosophies teach that life is more than toil, that time should be set aside for contemplation, enjoyment and culture.
In today's frantic 24/7 world, the Sabbath--a day devoted to rest and contemplation--has never been more necessary. A Day Apartoffers a portrait of a truly timeless way to escape the everyday world and add meaning to our lives.

Excerpt

On Friday nights and Saturdays in our neighborhood, the Jews walk to and from their Sabbath services along the sidewalks of the maple-lined streets. Well-dressed and at their ease, these families move inside a bubble of holy time. Their calm, happy mood conveys a belief that there is a God who loves them and has given them this day to worship and enjoy themselves. Here's the bargain: they keep the Sabbath and God keeps them. Who could not be attracted to such a deal? This covenant dates to Creation, almost six thousand years ago according to the Jewish calendar, and to the delivery of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. More factually, evidence dates regular Sabbath observance to at least the eighth century and probably Iooo BCE, which gives us at least three thousand years of Jews walking to services on the seventh day as they still do in neighborhoods around the world.

Christians have their Lord's Day on Sunday and Muslims their Day of Assembly, Juma, on Friday. Though these are not Sabbaths, in the exact Jewish sense, each is a holy day that draws on Jewish tradition and theology. Christianity and Islam each developed a distinctive holy day whose features characterize their religion and distinguishes it from Judaism and each other. The common denominator is that the day is a gift that conveys and signifies God's love. The calm confidence, joy, and dignity of observant Jews, Christians, and Muslims on the holy day are striking. The mystery remains as to why only a minority in each monotheism accepts this divine gift. In the wider world, the secondary characteristic of the Sabbath is its general neglect and our relative ignorance. The Sabbath remains the dessert most people leave on the table.

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