Sabbatical

It’s one thing to take one day off in seven as a Sabbath – imagine taking one year off in seven! This seventh year idea appears also on Exodus 23 and Deuteronomy 15, so some kind of Sabbatical rhythm is well-attested.

Imagine letting the land lie fallow – no owner with any greater claim to the volunteer crop than any poor person, production slowed to natural issue. Of course, tradition later qualified sabbatical to a month before Rosh Hashanah in each seven years – a Sabbath of the land.

Reconsider the ideas of consumption and sacrifice, and the relationship of people and things, providence and prudence. What if we really saw it all as God’s and trusted God to provide, pausing as a gesture of trust from our frantic busyness? Alan Ginsberg’s poem ‘Howl’ rants:

“What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!

Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!

Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the cross-bone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments! ....

Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy!”