BONUS: This edition contains a The Sabbath World discussion guide.
What is the Sabbath, anyway? The holy day of rest? The first effort to protect the rights of workers? A smart way to manage stress in a world in which computers never get turned off and work never comes to an end? Or simply an oppressive, outmoded rite? In The Sabbath World,Judith Shulevitz explores the Jewish and Christian day of rest, from its origins in the ancient world to its complicated observance in the modern one. Braiding ideas together with memories, Shulevitz delves into the legends, history, and philosophy that have grown up around a custom that has lessons for all of us, not just the religious. The shared day of nonwork has built communities, sustained cultures, and connected us to the memory of our ancestors and to our better selves, but it has also aroused as much resentment as love. The Sabbath World tells this surprising story together with an account of Shulevitzs own struggle to keep this difficult, rewarding day.
Judith Shulevitz is a literary critic and a former columnist for The New York Times and Slate. Her work has also appeared in The New Republic and The New Yorker. She lives in New York City with her husband, Nicholas Lemann, and children.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Shulevitz has achieved something nearly impossible. She has written a book about the Sabbath that is truly singular."Moment magazine
"This book will make you think differently about time, religion and your job. Read it on a Saturday or a Sunday or a weekday, but do read it."AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
"The Sabbath World is not merely riveting, wise and at times breathtakingly beautiful, it just might change your life." Jonathan Safran Foer
"One of the many wonders of this beautiful and necessary book is that it manages to explore the meaning of the Sabbath with clarity and erudition, and simultaneously to awaken in the reader a deep longing for something that lives beyond words. What a pleasure to find a book written with the head and the heart."Jonathan Rosen, author of The Talmud and the Internet
"Many times while reading this book, I wished I had written it myself. It is enlightening and comforting to see that someone else has struggled with the Sabbath as I havewith the impossibility of removing oneself from the current of modern life, and with the equal impossibility of being forever caught in that current. Shulevitz's history of the Sabbath in Jewish and Christian traditions is thorough and honest, recalling the social and moral force that underlies our understanding of time, no matter how secular we consider ourselves to be. This is a story of impossibilitiesand of why, in our hyper productive world, the impossible is exactly what we need."Dara Horn, author of All Other Nights
"Someone once told me that Judith Shulevitz is the smartest writer in New York today. The Sabbath World contains all her formidable intelligence: Its learned, thoughtful, and elegant. But its also much, much more. The writing is compassionate, revealing, and deeply personal. The Sabbath World is destined to become a modern-day classic."
Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Americas Prophet
"This is a book that speaks to us all as we struggle to secure time in a frantic world. Melding history, religion, and culture with illuminating personal insights, Judith Shulevitz provides a path to a more balanced and fulfilling type of life."Jerome Groopman, M.D., Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, author of Anatomy of Hope and How Doctors Think
"What a brilliant idea. In The Sabbath World, culture critic Judith Shulevitz (Slate, the New York Times) addresses the philosophical idea of the Sabbath from both a personal and a collective point of view. Part history, part meditation, the book delves into the Sabbath in Judaism and Christianity while invoking a wealth of nonreligious sources, from William Wordsworth to Sigmund Freud. Ultimately, The Sabbath World suggests, the Sabbath offers a way to live outside of time, even for a day a weekan act not just of renewal but of resistance in an obsessively over-scheduled and over-networked world."Los Angeles Times
From the Hardcover edition.