Shabbat is undoubtedly the most prominent feature of Judaism, the central mitzva of Jewish life. And yet its essence is a mystery, and the laws associated with its observance are so numerous and complex, that the meaning of Shabbat often gets lost in translation.
In this first shiur of a four-shiur series Rabbi Dunner addresses some of the questions that help us define why Shabbat is so unique and so important. What is the significance of a seven day week?
If Shabbat is the cornerstone of God’s creation, as is evident in the Creation Narrative, why were Adam, Noach, and the Patriarchs not instructed to observe it? Why does the Talmud insist that gentiles are forbidden to keep Shabbat?
Why have other religions who have adopted Shabbat chosen to observe their day of rest on days other than Saturday? Why is the reason given for the mitzva of Shabbat different in the second set of the Ten Commandments than it is in the first?
Rabbi Dunner looks at sources in the Torah, Talmud, and later commentaries, to discover why Shabbat is such an incredible gift, and why observing the laws of Shabbat is so important for Jewish identity, and for our relationship with God.