A Protest Against Slavery

“Shabbat has meant many things over the course of time. During the biblical era it was a sustained protest against slavery. For one day in seven even a slave was free. In later ages it was a defence against poverty and oppression, a moment in which a much-afflicted people found serenity and breathed a more spacious air. Judah Halevi said that on Shabbat even the poorest Jew was freer than the most powerful king. In modern times it has become a counterforce to stress and the ever more intrusive presence of emails, mobile phones and the pressures of work. In the foreseeable future it will become a major force in the battle against overexploitation of the environment.”

Covenant and Conversation: Exodus, p. 263