Sabbath, the Day of Delight

By Abraham E. Millgram | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
THE JEWISH SABBATH AND THE CHRISTIAN SUNDAY

"There is not one city, Greek or barbarian, nor a single nation, to which our custom of abstaining from work on the seventh day has not spread" ( Flavius Josephus , Contre Apionem, 2.40).

AS LONG as the Jew remained segregated in the Ghetto or the Pale, he was not concerned with the fact that his Christian neighbor observed the first day of the week as his official day of rest and worship. But as soon as the Jew was emancipated and was permitted to become part of the political and economic life of his country, he discovered that the Jewish week was out of step with the economic and social order which were patterned after the Christian tradition. Sabbath observance became a serious obstacle in the way of earning a livelihood. Many a Jew tried to observe the Sabbath, despite the enormous disadvantage such observance imposed upon him, only to succumb to the inexorable economic forces. The few who succeeded are the proverbial exceptions that prove the rule.

The problem of the Christian Sunday has therefore become a matter of vital concern to every Jew who is troubled by the general decline of Sabbath observance. One frequently hears the question: Why did the Christians abandon the Sabbath? How could the Christians accept the authority of the Bible, and more particularly the Ten Commandments, and at the same time reject the one commandment which

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