Scary Quote

“Every religious Jew knows that when you keep the Shabbat, the Shabbat in turn keeps and protects you.”

Background: Due to a recent public sector labor strike, workers at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport refused to process passengers and aircraft coming or going. This work stoppage caused a tremendous backup that stranded passengers from all airlines.

Once the strike ended, all the airlines, including El Al, Israel’s recently privatized, national carrier, worked overtime on Shabbat (Sabbath) to get their stranded passengers to their destinations. El Al’s “desecration” of the Sabbath has stirred quite a controversy in Israel, particularly but not exclusively among religious Jews.

On Monday, following the perceived Sabbath desecration, a New York bound El Al aircraft had to return to Ben Gurion Airport due to a landing gear malfunction and some (perhaps, many) among the religiously observant community saw it as a sign that God was displeased with El Al.

Minor Question: Is this any different than Pat Robertson suggesting that Ariel Sharon’s massive stroke demonstrated God’s displeasure with his handling of Gaza and the West Bank?

Real Issue: Is it appropriate to suggest that the Sabbath has such powers? Did God intend for the Sabbath to watch over the nation of Israel? Can it really watch over Israel? It is commonly said that if all Jews would observe the Sabbath two consecutive times, Messiah will present himself. While this is clearly an unbiblical assertion, it is dramatically different than suggesting that the Sabbath has protective power.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills –
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the maker of Heaven and Earth.

He will not let your foot slip –
He who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you –
The LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm –
He will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

If I’ve got a choice between trusting the Sabbath and trusting the LORD, I’m going with the LORD every time.

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