Treasures From Our Tradition
TREASURES FROM OUR TRADITION
Although the hours of daylight are rapidly dwindling, many people would say that these October days bring the year’s most splendid weather. Americans are riders and joggers, not strollers, and so the pleasures of the season are often lost on us. This is not the case with many Jewish people, who observe an ancient rule in walking to synagogue on the Sabbath. On city streets and suburban sidewalks in many cities, we may notice around sunset the nicely dressed families walking and chatting on Friday afternoon. After a short prayer at dusk, the families stroll home again for a relaxing and festive meal. They return to synagogue in the morning, and then spend an afternoon in family leisure until three stars appear in the night sky and Sabbath ends.
Catholics, on the other hand, pile into the car and drive even a short distance to Mass; some even divide the family to participate at different hours. For Jews, the leisurely walk marks a dividing line between hectic life commitments and a day of abundant joy and enrichment. Before we became an automobile culture, Catholics embraced a similar pace, and in most places walked to church. These lovely days of fall invite us to tap into an old and life-giving tradition. If you live within a mile of your church, walk next week. If you must drive, park at a good distance and walk the rest of the way. Talk about your life, greet strangers, notice the crunch of leaves under your shoes. You may be surprised at how different Sunday Mass feels when it is framed by leisure! —James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.