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The Seven Day Week

December 19, 2014

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, December 19, 2014.

The Torah gave the seven day week to the world. For the Jews, the Shabbat is about imitating God who rested on the seventh day after creating the world; as well as commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. Isn’t it amazing that calendars worldwide preserve this system of six days plus a day of rest per week? Of course Muslims and Christians inherited the concept of the Shabbat from us. But in Buddhist and Hindu countries, the day to day calendar is like ours: Seven Day Weeks.  In the early post-revolutionary days of the Soviet Union, the government tried to change the week. Six days of work, they said, for every day off from work, was unacceptable – it didn’t maximize production. It wasn’t productive. They decided that a day off every 10 work days was sufficient – and, they said, much less wasteful.

It didn’t work. The Western World was too accustomed to a seventh day of rest. Begrudgingly, the government decided they couldn’t pull it off. However, they created a new alternative anyway. They asked workers to VOLUNTEER to work on labor projects on the such as construction and road building. These workers, working on the Sabbath were called “Sabotnicks.” (The Russian word for Sabbath is Subotta)

Shabbat Shalom