Enjoying the Passage of Time
“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. Any fool can do it, there ain't nothing to it.” These words were sung by James Taylor. While he probably did not have Shabbat in mind, he might as well have been talking about the heart and soul of the Sabbath: time.
What is time actually? Time is the fluid in which we all swim. Time is an intangible thing. Time cannot be found or created. Time is not an abstract concept. Time is real. Time is as real and fundamental as air is to our existence. Time is what gives events and things meaning.
Having a Shabbat is the most effective way for humans to understand the importance of time. According to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time.” (Sabbath, 10). Judaism is a religion that begs us to emphasize time at least once a week, in place of space or things.
Time is not an end, but merely a means of connecting and deepening our spiritual awareness while on this planet. Shabbat is the great revolutionary reminder of the issue of time over space. The observance of the Sabbath is the reminder for people of the relationship of time to space and that without time then space or things lose their meaningfulness.