Abraham Joshua Heschel writes in his book The Sabbath, “To set apart one day a week for freedom, a day on which we would not use the instruments which have been so easily turned into weapons of destruction, a day for being with ourselves, a day of detachment from the vulgar, of independence of external obligations, a day on which we stop worshipping the idols of technical civilization, a day on which we use no money, a day of armistice in the economic struggle with our fellow men and the forces of nature – is there any institution that holds out a greater hope for man’s progress than the Sabbath?”
The sabbath is a day that frees us from labor. But many of us don’t see it this way. We use Sunday afternoon to catch up on everything else we didn’t get done during the week – running errands, ironing clothes, cleaning our houses. By doing this, we start the week with a clean slate and think that the sabbath thus accomplished its goal – we were rested to go into another week. But this looks at the sabbath in the wrong direction. Here, the sabbath is that which prepares us for the rest of the week. Whereas, in a Jewish perspective, the week prepares us for the sabbath. All of our actions our leading and pointing to the day of rest. In order to truly cease from labor one day a week, the workload may have to increase a little everyday during the week. In this way, the sabbath is not just something that is done once and week and then left behind. The sabbath is a way of life; it infiltrates all of our actions, our schedules, our lifestyles. The sabbath affects everything.