THE TRADITIONAL SABBATH
More than Israel has kept the Sabbath, it is the Sabbath that has kept Israel. ANAD HA-'AM
"MORE than Israel has kept the Sabbath, it is the Sabbath that has kept Israel." Thus did the brilliant Hebrew essayist, Ahad Ha-'Am, epitomize the historical significance of the Sabbath for the Jewish people. Nor is Ahad Ha'Am alone in his exalted opinion of the role that the Sabbath has played in the history of the Jews. He reflects the universal regard for the Sabbath as it revealed itself in the life and literature of the Jew up to the nineteenth century.
Even in ancient times the Sabbath was singled out as the most important of all the festivals. The Sabbath alone was included in the Ten Commandments wherein the Hebrews were enjoined to "remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy."1 The post-biblical rabbinic literature not only exhorts the Jews to observe the Sabbath, but also dwells on the blessings of the Sabbath both for the individual Jew and for Israel. On Friday night, we are told, the Jew is accompanied on his way home from synagogue by two angels, one good and one evil. When the Jew enters his home and finds the Sabbath lights kindled and the home radiant with the joyous Sabbath atmosphere, the good angel blesses the