How the Jewish Celebration of the Sabbath Can Help Us Better Appreciate the Lord’s Day The Jewish Observance of the Sabbath: Pharisaic Legalism? When I first moved to Israel, I was stunned to learn about the many prohibitions that bind orthodox Jews in their observance of the Sabbath day: No driving, no cooking, no watching TV, no phones, computers or any other forms of media, no shopping or handling of money, and no writing, to name a few. Like many Christians who first encounter these practices, I couldn’t help but wonder: isn’t this legalistic approach to the Sabbath just like the pharisaic one that Jesus so severely criticizes in the Gospels? At the same time, I was fascinated by the earnestness with which religious Jews observe the seventh day, especially when compared to the fading role of Sunday as a day of rest in most culturally Christian countries. It took me a few years to understand the spirit behind the Jewish observance of the Sabbath, and what I discovered greatly enhanced my appreciation of the Lord’s Day.
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