Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shabbos: Ta'am HaChaim Ki Savo 5767

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Ki Savo 5767

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah it is said (Devarim 29:3) velo nasan HaShem lachem leiv ladaas viainayim liros viaznaim lishmoa ad hayom hazeh, but HaShem did not give you a heart to know, or eyes to see, or ears to hear until this day. What is the meaning of this verse? The generation that sojourned in the Wilderness was known as the Dor Deah, the generation of knowledge. How is it possible that after all the years of journeying in the Wilderness, they did not have a heart to know? In order to answer this question, let us examine a similar concept that we find regarding Shabbos. We pray three times a day the Shemone Esrei, where we recite the following words atah chonen liadam daas umelamed leenosh binah, You graciously endow man with knowledge and teach insight to a frail mortal. It is clear that during the weekday one is endowed with daas, knowledge. Yet, with regard to the observance of Shabbos, HaShem instructs Moshe (Shemos 31:13) viatah dabeir el bnei Yisroel leimor ach es Shabbsosai tishmoru ki os hi beini uveineichem ledorseichem ladaas ki ani mikadishchem, now you speak to the Children of Israel, saying: ‘However, you must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you for your generations, to know that I am HaShem, Who makes you holy.’ The Sfas Emes writes that the goal of Shabbos is to attain a level of daas, knowledge. During the week one attains a certain level of daas, knowledge, but on Shabbos, one ascends in his level of daas, knowledge. In a same vein, the generation of the Wilderness reached an unprecedented level of daas, but Moshe was informing them that they still were able to ascend higher in their attainment of daas. When we approach the Holy Shabbos, we should be cognizant of the fact that despite all that we have achieved during the week, Shabbos offers us an opportunity to ascend to unfathomable spiritual heights. During the month of Elul, we recite twice a day the psalm that begins with the words LeDovid HaShem Ori, by Dovid, HaShem is my light. Dovid Hamelech makes the following declaration: (Tehillim 27:8) lecho amar libi bakshu fanai es panecho HaShem avakeish, in Your behalf my heart has said, “ Seek My presence.” Your Presence, Hashem, I do seek. The Sfas Emes writes that the festivals are linked to Shabbos, as through the festival, one receives the light and the daas of Shabbos. As we approach the Days of Awe, we should bear in mind that our spirituality is contingent on our observance of Shabbos. HaShem should allow us to merit observing and sanctifying the Shabbos, and in this merit we should all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Melech vasik, King Who is faithful. How does HaShem demonstrate His faithfulness? Hashem is constantly renewing the creation of the world and breathing life into every creation. There is no greater faithfulness than this. In Shemone Esrei we recite the words umekayeim emunoso lisheini afar, and maintains His faith to those asleep in the dust. In truth, however, HaShem is faithful when He renews creation, which in a sense is akin to the Resurrection of the Dead.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Baruch atah HaShem kel melech gadol umehulal batishbachos, Blessed are You, HaShem, G-d, King exalted and lauded through praises. I recently read about the concept that when we perform mitzvos, we are mefarnes, support, so to speak, HaShem. Although this idea requires further explanation, we can understand it on a simple level to mean that when we perform the will of HaShem, we are giving Him satisfaction. It is said (Tehillim 22:4) viatah kadosh yosheiv tehillos Yisroel, You are the holy One, enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In a sense, HaShem reigns and His kingdom is established through our praises. This is what it means when we say that HaShem is exalted and lauded through praises. HaShem’s greatness is reflected in our praises.

Shabbos Story

Rav Eichenstien, the Ziditchover Rebbe, tells the following story: One Friday, a man entered the study of the Tchortkover Rebbe with a request that was very common in those days. “My son was drafted into the army,” the man began. “However, we have a way out. On Sunday, we are going to a doctor who will falsely declare him unfit for service. This way he will be spared certain misery, perhaps even death in that terrible army. “Rebbe,” he asked, “I need your blessing that he evade the draft.” The Rebbe quietly told him that Shabbos was nearing and he could not concentrate on blessings. The man should return to him on Friday evening after his tish (ceremonious Chasidic table). The man did so. After most of the Chasidim had left, the man repeated his request, almost verbatim. Again the Rebbe was non-committal. “Return to me after the morning service.” Unperturbed, the man noted that he would really like to resolve this matter before Sunday morning. Shabbos morning, after services, the man approached the Rebbe again. Calmly he repeated the predicament. “Sunday morning I am going to a doctor who will falsely declare my son unfit for military service. Please pray that we will evade conscription.” The Rebbe was not moved. Again, he deferred until the afternoon. At the third Shabbos meal, the scene repeated again, precisely the way it had the previous three times. “I understand that you are leaving Sunday morning. Come back to me late Saturday night,” said the Rebbe. “By then I will have an answer for you.” By this time, his Chasidim’s curiosity was piqued. They had never seen their Rebbe so reluctant to mete a blessing, especially when it was one that would save a Jewish soul from the frightful Polish army. Saturday night a large crowd gathered as the man approached with his request. Frustrated and disgruntled, the man, once again, repeated his story, almost verbatim, for the fifth time. Immediately, the Rebbe sprung from his chair and began to shout. “What are you asking me? Why would one even try to evade the service of our wonderful country? How dare you ask me for a blessing of that sort? Your son would make a fine soldier for our country. I wish him the best of luck in the army!” The man quickly scurried from the room and left town. The Chasidim stood shocked and bewildered. Never had they heard such an uncharacteristic outcry from the Rebbe. “I will explain,” said the Rebbe. “The man was a fraud. He had no son, and if he did, he wanted him in the army. He was sent by the government to test our loyalty. Thank G-d we passed the test.” “But, Rebbe!” cried the Chasidim, “how did you know?” “Simple,” explained the Rebbe. “I watched the level of intensity. From the moment he met me until tonight there was no increase in intensity or feeling of desperation with each request. The moment I heard his request tonight and it contained no more passion or desperation than his first request on Friday night, I knew he was a fraud.”

Shabbos in History

The Gemara (Shabbos 118b) states that were the Jewish People to observe just two Shabbosos, they would be redeemed immediately. Is not one Shabbos enough? Why specifically two? This is especially difficult as the same Gemara also refers to one Shabbos as being enough. There is a Midrash Peliah, a Mystery Medrash that states: “The Shechinah, the Divine Presence, has never left the Jewish People, even during the weekday Shabbos (see Midrash Haneelam parshas Korach). What is the idea of this “weekday Shabbos” which also is graced by the Divine Presence? It is true, says the Zichron Menachem, that there is a Shabbos which the Torah establishes. This Shabbos is immutable. But there is also a Shabbos that only we can make. The Gemara (Yoma 81b) states that we know that there is a mitzvah to add on part of the mundane [the weekday] to the holy [Shabbos], because the Torah refers to it [Shabbos] as Shabbatchem, your Shabbos. This teaches us that it is a mitzvah to add on to Shabbos from your own time. The Shabbos proper has an official commencement, whereas Tosefes Shabbos-that which we add on by accepting Shabbos before its official time-depends totally on us. Even a minute (or less) is enough to satisfy one’s obligation to add on to the Shabbos. If a person wishes to add more chol (mundane) to kodesh, he may do so, thus increasing the length of his Shabbos. This is not as simple as it might appear. Once a person has accepted Tosefes Shabbos by declaring verbally or mentally that he now accepts Shabbos and will refrain from work, he is halachically forbidden from performing any melacha no matter how important that act of labor may be (matters of life-and-death are obviously excluded as on Shabbos proper). By getting ready early and greeting Shabbos before it comes, one becomes a partner with Hashem in making Shabbos, giving Shabbos an additional sanctity which only he can do. The Zichron Menachem explains that this is the idea of the “weekday Shabbos.” Just as the Shechinah graces the “Torah’s Shabbos” with its presence, so too the weekday Shabbos a Jew “makes”-by going to mikveh early, getting himself ready, going to shul and greeting Shabbos before it comes-is graced by the same kedushah and sanctity. These are the “two” Shabbosos which are really one. To be redeemed, it seems, it is not enough to merely observe Shabbos with all of its halachos. We have to demonstrate our anxiousness and love of Shabbos by adding on to the holy from the mundane, and it is in this merit that we will be redeemed.

Shabbos in the Daf

Yevamos 121b

The Gemara relates an incident where the daughter of Nechunyah the well digger fell into a pit. Upon being informed of this tragic incident, Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa told the people that the girl was safe, as her father was engaged in the mitzvah of providing water to the pilgrims who ascended to Jerusalem for the festivals. Thus, it was not possible that the daughter of Nechunyah should die through the very same water that her father used to perform a mitzvah. We can extrapolate from this incident how important it is for us to observe Shabbos properly. If we observe Shabbos properly, HaShem will surely not allow our children to desecrate the Shabbos, and Shabbos observance will continue until the end of time.

Shabbos in Halacha

In practice, when one uses a ladle to take soup from a kli rishon, i.e., a pot, the halacha is as follows. Regarding uncooked spices, we deem the ladle to be a kli rishon, thus rendering the bowl a kli sheini. Subsequently, prior to adding any uncooked seasoning to a bowl of soup, one is required to transfer the soup to a kli shelishi, or he should wait until the soup cools below the temperature of yad soledes bo. Regarding baked items, we deem the ladle to be a kli sheini and the bowl is a kli shelishi. [The issue of cooking a previously baked item is itself the subject of debate, so regarding a ladle we can follow the lenient view that deems the ladle to be a kli sheini and the bowl to be a kli shelishi.] Thus, one would be allowed to add pieces of matzah or croutons to soup that was placed in a bowl with a ladle. One would also be permitted to pour soup from the ladle directly onto a baked item, as pouring from a kli sheini falls under the rule of a kli shelishi.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

It is known that the Torah that one studies on Shabbos is more exalted than the Torah that one studies during the week. It is thus noteworthy that in all four Shabbos prayers we recite the words visein chelkeinu bisorasecho, grant our share in Your Torah. The first letters of these words equal 16, and 1+6=7, which is Shabbos, the seventh day of the week.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Ki Savo 5767

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

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