The Sabbath, one of the earliest institutions of Juda- ism, has been among the foremost of the Jewish people’s gifts to civilization. Moses called it a symbol of the covenant between God and Israel. The proph- ets viewed it as a day holy to the Lord. Nehemiah enforced it as a day of rest from labor. The Pharisees transformed it into a clay of spiritual regeneration. The Jewish mystics spoke of it as the Bride of Israel. The medieval rabbis turned it into a day of study and devotion. All Jewish teachers, from the beginnings of Judaism to the present day, have echoed the characterization applied to the Sabbath by the Proph- et Isaiah—the day of delight.
All these attitudes towards the Sabbath are reﬂected in this volume. The book is offered to the Jews of America in response to their need for a deeper and broader appreciation of the role of the Sabbath as a holy day, a civilizing force, a fundamental institu- tion in the life of the Jewish people. Several chap. ters are devoted to the history of the Sabbath and to its evaluation by teachers, philosophers and poets. Other chapters describe its observance, not only among the well-known communities of Jews in the present and the past, but also in the highly interesting communities scattered throughout the world. Still other portions of this volume are devoted to the re. ligious and ethical implications of the Sabbath as these are expressed in the laws, customs and tradi-
tions connected with the day.
It is the contention of the author-compiler that the Sabbath still is a day of delight and can be made even more delightful. He has therefore included a consid- erable amount of material for practical use to inter- pret the spirit of the day. The reader will ﬁnd here poems and stories, humorous as well as serious, for the child and the adult. He will ﬁnd an authoritative discussion, by Mrs. Rachel Wischnitzer, of Jewish art reﬂecting Sabbath ceremonies and decorations. Forty-three illustrations in connection with this article constitute a rare collection of pictures of Sab- bath art. Another article, on Sabbath music, is a contribution of Professor A. W. Binder. In order to make the book even more helpful, the author-com- piler included the Sabbath service for traditional and reform homes. Cognizance is taken of the new devel- opment in Sabbath observance which goes by the name of ‘Oneg Shabbat; a musical supplement for use at such gatherings is appended to the volume.
Rabbi Abraham E. Millgram has brought to his task much knowledge and experience. A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, he held a number of rabbinic posts and served as Director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at the University of Minnesota. He was formerly Educational Director of the United Synagogue Commission on Jewish Edu- cation. He is the author of An Anthology of M ediae- val Hebrew Literature, Philadelphia, 1935. He de- voted himself wholeheartedly to the preparation of this volume because he felt that this was a sacred and necessary task. The publishers join him in the hope that his book will serve to revitalize the Sabbath and to make it indeed The Day 0f Delight.