Your Cart

Jewish Life

Pausing is actually an ancient concept. The "original pause" may in fact be "Shabbat," the seventh day of rest described in the Hebrew Bible and a concept adopted by Christianity as the Sabbath.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the leading Jewish theologians and philosophers of the 20th century, eloquently captures the importance and power of pausing – of making time to catch our breath – in this poem about Shabbat.

Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein
Director of Jewish Community and the Bronfman Center at 92Y

by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Tonight is a time to catch our breath.
Whatever we have been doing, making, working, creating
Tonight we pause to catch our breath.

No matter how necessary our work, how important to the world, how urgent that we continue it;
No matter how joyful our work, how fully and profoundly human;
No matter how flawed our work, how urgent that we set it right;
No matter how hard we have worked to gather our modest fame, our honorable livelihood, our reasonable power

Tonight we pause to catch our breath,
Tonight we pause to share whatever we have gathered.

To set apart one day a week for freedom,
A day on which we would not use the instruments which have been so easily turned into weapons for destruction.
A day for being with ourselves,
A day for detachment from the vulgar, of independence from external obligations,
A day on which we use no money,
A day of armistice in the economic struggle with our fellow men & women and the forces of nature

Is there any institution that holds out a greater hope for our progress than the Sabbath?

Double your donation on


Please note that all 92Y regularly scheduled in-person programs are suspended.