dinsdag 11 september 2012

Sabbath and Crisis

According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will come when for once all Jews without exception will  keep the Sabbath. Who knows, maybe it once almost succeeded – in more pious times than ours. It definitely must have been a heavy weight on the conscience of the one who was the spoilsport then.

In our time, the fulfilment of that hope is less likely than ever, given the many Jews who spend Sabbath in ways that divert from what the commandments require.

Yet I sometimes think that the Sabbath already several times brought us a (provisional) rescue. I mean: rescue from the clutches of the monster of the financial markets. In the recent years of financial crisis, weekends were crucial to sort things out in the impending chaos. It is true, the Sabbath was by far not long enough in those circumstances and the rescuework needed to be continued until Sundaynight, before the markets would open again on Monday morning.

But on the basis of that weekend rhythm, various financial disasters were averted. The rescue of the Fortis and ABN AMRO banks for instance started after the close of the markets on Friday October 3, 2008 and was completed in the night of 5 to 6 October. And the main Euro Summits in recent years were all held in stock-market-free weekends.

And now there is speculation on departure of Greece from the Eurozone, Shabbat plays a role again - be it a much less messianic role. Already detailed scenarios are being developed, all of which should begin on a Friday night.

Suppose the Sabbath had never been invented, and consequently neither the Sunday. Then the financial monster would have marched on uncessantly and by now we would definitely have been swallowed.

But whether we bought anything more than just time remains to be seen.

Also see Aristotle and the bonuses and A Single Sentence