Yechezkel Twenty: Shabbat

Time-check: it’s the 7th year, 5th month, on the 10th of the month, and a portion of the elders of Israel came to sit before Ezekiel. “And you shall say to them: So says the Lord God, On the day I chose Israel, then I lifted up My hand to the seed of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up My hand to them, saying: I am the Lord your God (Ezekiel 20:5).” God’s words go on, remembering when He took the people out of Egypt, and the people subsequently rebelled.

God describes numerous encounters with the people, but one in particular struck me. “Moreover, I gave them My Sabbaths to be for a sign between Me and them, to know that I, the Lord, make them holy (Ezekiel 20:12).” I’m fascinated by this description of Shabbat as a sign of what makes us holy. I see the rituals of Shabbat as holy, the laws of Shabbat, the sacred time and atmosphere of Shabbat. But how does Shabbat make us holy by extension? I’m sure there are all kinds of reasons and commentaries on this verse, but what came to mind for me is that just like eating healthy makes us healthy, doing holy makes us holy. The special and unique nature of Shabbat teaches us to mark time, prioritize family, and detach. That’s what makes us holy.

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