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The Sabbath in Jewish Thought and Literature

The Jewish people has had an ambivalent relationship with the Sabbath since its inception. The Sabbath has occasioned love poems, but it was also the occasion of one of the earliest biblical transgressions. Now, 3000 years later, why is there a renaissance of interest in the Sabbath, both in Israel and the Diaspora, across the religious and political spectrums? Why do we remain both drawn to the Sabbath and repelled from it? More than “a day to chill” or simply an ancient ritual, the Sabbath continues to inform Jewish identity and shape Jewish consciousness. This seminar will explore some of the concepts from which the Sabbath experience is woven—body and soul, labor and leisure, individuality and community, time and eternity, creativity and creaturehood, law and love—as expressed in the Bible, rabbinic thought, poetry, and literature.