What is without periods of rest will not endure. -Ovid
The Zohar, the prime tome of Kaballah provides dozens of interpretations for the very first word and phrase of the Bible. Many of the interpretations involve wordplay, numerology and other tools of the esoteric world, combined with mystic philosophy, often building on Talmudic sources.
Many of the concepts presented seek to understand why the universe was created, what are the guiding principles, how man came into being and for what purpose.
The Baal Haturim on the very first line, Genesis 1:1 quotes several of these ideas. One of them is that the world was created because of the Sabbath.
Stating that the world was created because of a certain idea or concept places that concept in a central, fundamental role in our existence. The Sabbath is fundamental. Not only was the world created because of the Sabbath, but if we were to imagine a world without a Sabbath, we could imagine a world quickly disintegrating into chaos and anarchy. A world of non-stop work. A world lacking human contact and relationships. A world where families lose their cohesion and communities fall apart. A world filled with materialism and starved of spirituality. A world where we become pleasure-seeking and fulfilling automatons, not resting to consider who we are or why we are here. To live a life unexamined.
Next week, the global Jewish community has called on all of our people to celebrate and experience one Sabbath together. There is an ancient rabbinic statement that if the entire people of Israel were to observe one Sabbath, the redemption would immediately come.
It’s that close.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
To Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein of South Africa for his inspired initiative of The Shabbos Project and for the professional implementation of this historic effort.