What the Judgment Day hoopla taught us

On the Saturday the Family Radio Ministries had designated for the world’s end, it occurred to me that this approach conformed to every detail of the traditional Sabbath. Philosophers and sages might urge us to live every day as if it might be our last, but observing Shabbat provides a framework for doing just that.

You gather for festive meals with friends and family, savoring the best available wines and lovingly prepared delicacies. According to tradition, the table talk should include religious discussion and consideration of holy texts. You also make your way to synagogue services on foot (no automotive transport), which involves a deeper appreciation of surroundings in your own neighborhood and provides still more communal connection.

Most important, Sabbath observance liberates you from the tyranny of the urgent—no ringing telephones, or beeping messages, or alarming news broadcasts. Specific injunctions prevent engagement in preparations for the week ahead; like those expecting the end of the world, Sabbath observers are, in our case temporarily, liberated from deadlines, or the need to make progress on projects, or to improve the world as you received it on sundown of Friday night.