Thou Shalt Not Roll On The Sabbath: A Ten Commandments’ Tale

cult film classic fictional character walter sobchak, in “the big lebowski,” profanely ranted an explanation as to why he did not bowl on the sabbath. sans expletives, he stated that he was “shomer shabbas.” “shomer shabbas” translates to one who guards the sabbath.

mr. sobeck’s exchange was as follows:

“walter sobchak: i told those f***s down at the league office a thousand times that i don’t roll on shabbos!

donny: what’s shabbos?

walter sobchak: saturday, donny, is shabbos, the jewish day of rest. that means that i don’t work, i don’t get in a car, i don’t ride in a car, i don’t pick up the phone, i don’t turn on the oven, and i sure as sh*t

walter sobchak: DONT F***ING ROLL! SHOMER SHABBOS!”

walter sobchak’s frustration over having to explain his sabbath bowling prohibition could have been averted had the master of the universe has taken the time to explicitly include “no rolling on sabbath” when crafting the sabbath commandment. “honor the sabbath and keep it holy, and, by the way, “no rolling” could arguably fit on the tablet. it could have made official a formal prohibition against holy rolling.

how could the almighty miss out on the direct exclusion from sabbath bowling? after all, bowling is a sport done with the use of a mighty arm. was it not the master of the universe who used a mighty arm to free the children of israel from egypt? bowling is a sport of ten frames. was it not the almighty to employ ten plagues to free the children of israel from bondage? bowling’s goal is to striking down pins. did not the master of the universe not strike down the first born egyptians are part of the plagues? bowling is a sport that uses a lane. did not the almighty part the red sea waters and create a lane to allow the children of israel escape from egypt?

the sport of bowling shares powerful imagery with the exodus story.

the fictional walter sobchak, may have blamed the master of the universe for this inadvertence. perhaps, moses has some culpability. moses, when seeing the burning bush, was asked to remove shoes as he was only holy ground. is this not analgous to a bowling alley’s requirement to remove one’s regular shoes to play the sport? is not the bowling lane sacred to the sport to the point that special bowling shoes are required?

mr. sobchak perhaps had frustration with the torah and the talmud failing to provide this explicit rule. the great teachers and scholars such as hillel, akiva, maimonedes all failed mr. sobchak as well.

this failure of the almighty and great rabbinic scholars, however, led to the creation of an epic cult movie rant. this “shabbas” rant took on a life of its own. t-shirts and memes about not “rolling on shabbas” has taken hold in contemporary culture. the rules of the sabbath have been made known to a new audience. the knowledge of the concept of “shomer shabbas” has been greatly expanded.

thus, did the master of the universe envision that in the late 1990s that the world would be a need to promote “shomer shabbas” and therefore intentionally left out a bowling prohibition in the ten commandments?this humorous outburst concerning “shomer shabbas” available in movie theaters and in homes via dvd and streaming services, certainly has spread to words of the ten commandments. also, did the almighty envision that actor john goodman provide the epic performance as walter sobchak?

if the almighty was asked, he might respond in kind, “shomer shabbas” “shomer shabbas!”

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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