By Abraham Joshua Heschel
This slim, poetic volume of practical theology opened my heart to the practice of Judaism. Nearly 20 years ago, my then fiancé and I read it aloud to each other, a few pages every Friday night, as we started to experiment with our own Shabbat table rituals—lighting candles, pouring a cup of wine, breaking bread, singing blessings.
Rabbi Heschel explains the Sabbath as the source and crux of Jewish spirituality: "There are no two hours alike. Every hour is unique and the only one given at the moment, exclusive and endlessly precious. Judaism teaches us to be attached to holiness in time…to learn how to consecrate sanctuaries that emerge from the magnificent stream of a year." The Sabbath is one such sanctuary, indeed a weekly "cathedral" raised up in my dining room, in my family, in my heart—but only if and when I consecrate it through my intention, words, and deeds.