Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Sabbath

I have a preaching gig on Sunday and I'm a little stuck. Just a little. And I think I'll get over it soon enough. But in the meantime, I keep thinking about our Orthodox neighbors walking in the street. More than once, the Husband has been out working on a Saturday when he has to carefully drive around someone walking to or from Sabbath worship at a local temple. It happens too often to be a coincidence. Being basically a Midwestern girl, this is a new thing for me. I feel a bit stupid, but I am also wildly curious. I have tried googling the whole thing with no luck. Could it have something to do with the Eruv chatzerot? (The art to the left is Eruv for the area where we live.)

Wikipedia, the source of all partial investigations says...

The eruv chatzerot, or "mixed [ownership of] courtyards/domains", operates so that all the residents treat the entire area as their common "home". In other words, it is a religious-legal mechanism that transforms an enclosed shared living area (e.g. a courtyard) into a common one. In order to be enclosed, the area must be surrounded by a wall, fence, or tzurot ha-petah, "doorframes".

In many cases — for example, within a hospital, nursing home, school campus, apartment complex, or a walled city, the demarcation of the shared area consists of real walls or fences.

These fences can also be made symbolically, using stakes and a rope or wire to demarcate doorframes. When an eruv is made to demarcate a contemporary Jewish neighborhood, a symbolic fence is typically constructed in this fashion, using utility poles and wires as well as any solid walls available. Thus, a modern eruv is commonly composed of a series of "doorframes," with the poles forming the doorposts (lechi, pl. lechai'in)and the wire forming the lintel (korah). A natural wall such as a river bank or steep hill can also be used as part of the eruv, as can an actual wall of a building.

I'm mostly just curious about all of this. And as I move past the stickiness of curiosity to writing a sermon, I keep thinking of how hard some folks strive to keep the Sabbath while others see it as just another day. Personally, I think my Sabbath keeping has been less than satisfactory of late. I think God would like me to do more than catch a nap and make a nice supper. Hmmm.....

No comments: