I have heard and seen in print many times the quotation attributed to Achad Ha'am that "more than Jews have kept the sabbath, the sabbath has kept the Jews" (exemplified in all its unattributed commonness here and here, results of Googling). Did he actually say or write this?

I am not so interested in the source, as much as I am a yes/no answer to whether Achad Ha'am is its correct attribution.

  • Why song-poetry?
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 4:12
  • @msh210 For all I knew when I asked, it could have been found in one of those.
    – WAF
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 10:36
  • @WAF For all you knew it might have been found in tractate-shabbat or the rambam.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 15:20
  • @DoubleAA Somehow, genrewise I assumed those to not be the case. Looks like I was on the money! Did you assume this was a talmudic or Maimonidean quotation before you saw its source?
    – WAF
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


The original can be found in an article titled השבת וציונות authored by Ginzberg (full text).

יותר משישראל שמרו את השבת שמרה השבת אותם (emphasis in the original)

  • How do you know the emphasis is original?
    – WAF
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 19:23
  • @WAF Original to the version in the link?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 19:24
  • OK, but likely not to the author.
    – WAF
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 19:29
  • @WAF I don't know why you would say that. I agree it is possibly ambiguous.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 19:30

Per Sefer HaShabos - page 516 this is attributed to Achad Ha'am.

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