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EXODUS XX. 8. 169 rest

by Manasseh Ben Israel
EXODUS XX. 8. 169 rest at the  last stage of human existence; as R. Joseph Sarfati said in YadJoseph, 5  as the seventh day immediately follows the sixth, so does the rest of the other life immediately follow the cessation of this troublesome one. The 3rd essential point which the sabbath brings with it, is, the necessity of studying Holy Writ thereon : meditation and constant practice in the word of God, being absolutely requisite, for it is a notable error to think, because the Sabbath is a day of rest, it must therefore be passed in idleness; as idleness is the fruitful source of vice, the Sabbath would thereby prove more in-jurious than beneficial. The supposition is consequently strengthened, that it was given for the especial purpose, that man being relieved from occupations, com-merce, bodily fatigue, and the pursuit of mundane concerns, might give him-self up, unimpeded thereby, to the meditation of the Law; assembling thereon in the synagogues, or places of divine worship, for the purpose of prayer; and frequenting the theological academies, that each might seek information upon such points of religion and faith as he may be unacquainted with, treating and discussing thereon with others. The Jerusalem Talmud clearly states, that Sabbaths and holy days were only given to Israel that they  might meditate in the word of God thereon. The Guemara of Suca6  also infers it, from the words of the Shunamite7  to his wife, reprehending her, because on the death of their child she was desirous of seeking the prophet Elisha, saying, it was neither New Moon nor Sabbath, at which times it appears to have been customary to seek the prophets and sages for consultation on doubts. And as R. Joseph Sarfati8  says, The commandment is,  Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it; and  Maimonides ( as R. Bechayai asserts in his Commentary), infers the same, from the words,  But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, signifying that it should be entirely dedicated to God and his service, and not to entertainments, banquets, and conversations, by which no one profits, but many are greatly prejudiced and offended, in being injured by the tongue of slander, kindling the fire of anger and vengeance 5 which, in a moral sense, is the fire which God  prohibited to be kindled in theIsraelites  dwellings on the Sabbath day ; 9  so that, agreeably to R. Judah äLevi, 10  the fruit of the week is the Sabbath,  and the benediction which God bestowed upon it, is ( according to the learned Aben Ezra and Nachmanides) that by pious contemplation man attains to divine communion. Thus the in-tention with which the Sabbath was given, consisted in its demonstrating our love of God by observing it properly. But in the time of Isaiah, Israel was engulphed in vice, all their ideas being devoted to carnal and corporeal pleasures ; and the Lord, angered against them, therefore said,  New Moons and Sabbaths to call assemblies, 11  giving it to be understood, that  New Moons and Sabbaths were superficially so by name only, as the works they did thereon were not the appropriate ones for such days. By this explanation the verses conciliate; since the Lord abhors the way in which the wicked spend it, but when it is observed in a proper manner, He highly esteems it; a decided proof of which is, that the name of this day has never been forgotten, but is perpetuated  by all nations, as R. Elias Vidal remarks, in his  Reeshit Hochmah, 12  and as the learned Aben Ezra observes on the 16th chapter of Exodus, the uncircumcised give the names of the planets which predominate on each to the six days of the week, but that of Sabbath to the seventh; and even the Mahometans who celebrate Friday, 5 Sermon 2. 6 C. 2. 7 2  Kings 4: 23. 8  Sermon 4. 9 Exod.  35: 3. 1 0 Cuzari  b. 2, art.  8. 11 Isa 1: 13.  12 C. 5. Chapter Home  | TOC  | Index t t t t t t t t

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EXODUS XX. 8. 169 rest at the last stage of human existence; as R. Joseph Sarfati said in Yad Joseph, 5 as the seventh day immediately follows the sixth, so does the rest of the other life immediately follow the cessation of this troublesome one. The 3rd essential point which the sabbath brings with it, is, the necessity of studying Holy Writ thereon : meditation and constant practice in the word of God, being absolutely requisite, for it is a notable error to think, because the Sabbath is a day of rest, it must therefore be passed in idleness; as idleness is the fruitful source of vice, the Sabbath would thereby prove more in-jurious than beneficial. The supposition is consequently strengthened, that it was given for the especial purpose, that man being relieved from occupations, com-merce, bodily fatigue, and the pursuit of mundane concerns, might give him-self up, unimpeded thereby, to the meditation of the Law; assembling thereon in the synagogues, or places of divine worship, for the purpose of prayer; and frequenting the theological academies, that each might seek information upon such points of religion and faith as he may be unacquainted with, treating and discussing thereon with others. The Jerusalem Talmud clearly states, that Sabbaths and holy days were only given to Israel that they might meditate in the word of God thereon. The Guemara of Suca6 also infers it, from the words of the Shunamite7 to his wife, reprehending her, because on the death of their child she was desirous of seeking the prophet Elisha, saying, it was neither New Moon nor Sabbath, at which times it appears to have been customary to seek the prophets and sages for consultation on doubts. And as R. Joseph Sarfati8 says, The commandment is, '' Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it;'' and Maimonides ( as R. Bechayai asserts in his Commentary), infers the same, from the words, \\" But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,\\" signifying that it should be entirely dedicated to God and his service, and not to entertainments, banquets, and conversations, by which no one profits, but many are greatly prejudiced and offended, in being injured by the tongue of slander, kindling the fire of anger and vengeance 5 which, in a moral sense, is the fire which God prohibited to be kindled in the Israelites' dwellings on the Sabbath day ; 9 so that, agreeably to R. Judah ä Levi, 10 the fruit of the week is the Sabbath, and the benediction which God bestowed upon it, is ( according to the learned Aben Ezra and Nachmanides) that by pious contemplation man attains to divine communion. Thus the in-tention with which the Sabbath was given, consisted in its demonstrating our love of God by observing it properly. But in the time of Isaiah, Israel was engulphed in vice, all their ideas being devoted to carnal and corporeal pleasures ; and the Lord, angered against them, therefore said, \\" New Moons and Sabbaths to call assemblies,\\" 11 giving it to be understood, that \\" New Moons and Sabbaths\\" were superficially so by name only, as the works they did thereon were not the appropriate ones for such days. By this explanation the verses conciliate; since the Lord abhors the way in which the wicked spend it, but when it is observed in a proper manner, He highly esteems it; a decided proof of which is, that the name of this day has never been forgotten, but is perpetuated by all nations, as R. Elias Vidal remarks, in his \\" Reeshit Hochmah,\\" 12 and as the learned Aben Ezra observes on the 16th chapter of Exodus, the uncircumcised give the names of the planets which predominate on each to the six days of the week, but that of Sabbath to the seventh; and even the Mahometans who celebrate Friday, 5 Sermon 2. 6 C. 2. 7 2 Kings 4: 23. 8 Sermon 4. 9 Exod. 35: 3. 1 0 Cuzari b. 2, art. 8. 11 Isa 1: 13. 12 C. 5. << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index t t t t t t t t
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