Just as G-d has made the United States an “exceptional” nation (to the consternation of some) …

Just as G-d has made the United States an “exceptional” nation (to the consternation of some) …

By Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin
Basic Books 1980

The Prayer, Atah Ehad, (Thou art One) said at the Sabbath afternoon (Mincha) service :

The introductory paragraph stresses the unity of God as well as the singularity of the Jewish people. While the passage lauds the Sabbath as a day of perfect rest, the sages read into the passage veiled references to the tranquility of the messianic era and also of the spiritual world-to-come, which is pictured in religious literature as possessing a Sabbath-like atmosphere in which the righteous souls shall eternally bask.

Thou art One and Thy Name is One

And who is like Thy people Israel, a nation unique on earth.
Glorious greatness and a crown of salvation,
A day of rest and holiness hast Thou given to Thy people
A day on which Abraham was glad, Isaac rejoiced, and in which
Jacob and his children have found rest;
A rest of love and generosity,
A rest of truth and faithfulness,
A rest of peace and tranquility, of calm and security,
A perfect rest of the kind that thou desirest.
Thy children shall recognize and know that their rest comes from Thee
And that by their rest, they sanctify They Name

The Atah Ehad passage gives expression to the three singular elements unique to Jewish faith: God, Israel and the Sabbath. As God is one and there is none like Him, as Israel is one, unique among the nations, so is the Sabbath special among the days of the week.



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