Thursday, September 6, 2007

Shabbos: Ta'am HaChaim Nitzavim-Vayeilech5767

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5767

Shabbos in the Parashah

In this week’s parashah, Nitzavim, the Ramban writes that the Torah instructs us regarding the mitzvah of Teshuvah, repentance. The simple meaning of repentance is that one should stop sinning, regret having sinned, and accept upon himself not to return to the sin. The commentators write that the word Shabbos is derived from the words shav, return. How does Shabbos reflect repentance? The Sfas Emes writes that the idea of Shabbos is that one rests, i.e. he returns to his source. Essentially, on Shabbos all of creation returns to its source. This is a profound idea. When one repents, he is not merely abandoning his sins. He is returning to his original state of being. To put this in modern terms, there are two types of products that one can purchase. One can purchase an item brand new, i.e. never used, or he can purchase a remanufactured product. The remanufactured product may serve his purpose, but most people would choose to purchase the new product. Why is this so? Apparently, new is better and one feels that there is more of a guarantee that the product will not malfunction. In the same vein, we appear to function without having repented from our sins, but in truth, we are not ourselves. The Kabbalists write that when one sins, and especially when one becomes angry, his soul leaves him. We do not view the person who has sinned as dead. Yet, it is said (Yechezkel 18:32) ki lo echpotz bimos hameis neum HaShem Elokim vihashivu vichyu, for I do not desire the death of one who should die-the word of the Lord HaShem/Elokim. Turn [yourselves] back and live! The commentators interpret this verse to mean that one who has not yet repented is deemed to be dead. Can one imagine believing that he is alive when for all practical purposes he is dead? Strange as this may sound, when one has not repented, he is not really counted amongst the living. When one repents, however, he has returned to the source of life. On Shabbos, despite the travails and challenges of the weekday, which at times may leave one feeling spiritually dead, one is resurrected and is a new person. For this reason one is required to change his Modus operandi on Shabbos. On Shabbos one is required to speak differently, walk differently, and even study Torah that he has not studied during the week. One who truly feels that he has been resurrected will certainly conduct himself differently. Thus, it is not surprising that the Medrash (Vayikra Rabbah 29:12) states that on Rosh Hashanah, one becomes like a new person. When one repents, it is as if he has gone back in time to the beginning of creation, when the world had not yet been sullied by the sins of mankind. This is the last Shabbos of the year and it is well known in Judaism that the end of a time period can always atone for everything that has occurred prior. Now that we view Shabbos as the paradigm of repentance, we can appreciate the opportunity that we all have in making this last Shabbos of the year the atonement for everything that we have done throughout the year. The reason for this is because Shabbos and Rosh Hashanah both reflect a fresh start, when one is resurrected from the dead, i.e. by repenting from his sins. HaShem should grant all of the Jewish People the opportunity to repent from our sins, and in the merit of repentance and Shabbos observance, we should merit the fulfillment of the verse (Yeshaya 1:27) Tziyon bimishpat tipadeh vishaveha bitzedakah, Zion will be redeemed through justice, and those who return to her through righteousness, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily in our days.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Ribbon kol HaOlamim

Published in 5401 (1641)

Melech zach, King Who is pure. It is said (Tehillim 24:3-4) mi yaaleh vihar HaShem umi yakum bimkom kadsho, niki chapaim uvar leivav asher lo nasa lashav nafshi vilo nishba limirmah, who may ascend the mountain of HaShem, and who may stand in the place of His sanctity? One with clean hands and pure heart; who has not sworn in vain by My soul, and has not sworn deceitfully. One who wishes to ascend to HaShem must be pure and clean. Similarly, we find by the commandment to light the Menorah that it is said (Bamidbar 8:1-2) vayidabeir HaShem el Moshe leimor, dabeir el aharon viamarta eilav behaloscha es haneiros el mul penei hamenorah yairu shivas haneiros, HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying, “speak to Aharon and say to him; when you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light. Rashi writes that Aharon was required to kindle the lights until the flame ascended by itself. Perhaps this statement alludes to the idea that one must purify himself to the point that his soul is capable of ascending by itself to HaShem. Hashem is pure, and in order for us to emulate Him and to ascend to Him, we must also be pure.

Shabbos in Tefillah

Keil hahodaos, G-d of thanksgivings. We have discussed previously the idea of thanksgiving and how we are to express our thanks to HaShem. Perhaps there is another interpretation to the idea of thanksgiving and it is reflected in this declaration. Hashem is the G-d of thanksgivings. It would not seem plausible to explain this to mean that HaShem thanks us for what we do. Rather, the idea is that the Medrash (Vayikra Rabbah 27:2) states that one should not engage in self-aggrandizement by stating, “look at what I have accomplished! I have donned tzitzis, I have placed a mezuzah on my house etc.” because HaShem will respond, “who gave the person the garment to place the tzitzis, and who gave the person the house so he can place the mezuzah.” Thus, HaShem is the G-d of thanksgivings, because even when a person seeks to praise HaShem through mitzvah performance, it was HaShem who gave the person the capability to perform the mitzvah. The word hodaah, normally defined as thanksgiving, can also mean confession. Thus, instead of boasting about the performance of a mitzvah, one should confess that it was HaShem Who gave the person the wherewithal to perform the mitzvah.

Shabbos Story

A non-observant Jew in the diamond business went to a show for dealers in Los Vegas, Nevada. The show was Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. At a convention of diamond dealers you can expect to find a lot of Shomrei Shabbos. This man noticed that on Friday afternoon, all the observant Jews packed up their stuff, left the convention hall, and went to a different hotel so they could observe Shabbos. So he approached one of the Shomrei Shabbos Jews and asked, “I do not understand you guys. You are here for three days, you pay a lot of money to be here, the convention is not even half over, and you are walking away from it?” The Shabbos-observant Jew responded, “Shabbos is Shabbos!” The non-observant Jew thought to himself, “If these guys are leaving the convention a day and a half early, after all the money they paid and all the money they could make, I must see for myself what these guys are into.” So he packed up his own stuff, went with them to the hotel, and spent his first heiligah [Holy] Shabbos in Las Vegas, Nevada. And he did so, only to remain a shomer Shabbos yid ad hayom hazeh [Sabbath observant Jew “until this very day”].

Shabbos in Navi

Yehoshua Chapter 1

I am introducing this year a new feature in Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim, called Shabbos in Navi. I will be presenting every week a short synopsis of a chapter in Navi, the Prophets, with a connection to Shabbos.

In this chapter, upon the passing of Moshe, Hashem instructs Yehoshua regarding the Jewish People crossing the Yarden, the Jordan River. Hashem instructs Yehoshua to be strong and that anyone who will rebel against Yeshaya will be put to death. There are two ideas that are expressed in this chapter. One idea is the concept of a Torah scholar passing away and another Torah scholar taking his place. Moshe has passed on and now Yehoshua assumes the mantle of leadership. The Zohar states that a Torah scholar is akin to Shabbos. When one righteous person passes on, another one is born or assumes the mantle of leadership. The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 58:2) refers to this as the setting and rising of the sun. Similarly, the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 60:16) tells us that when Sara kindled the Shabbos lights, they remained lit from one Shabbos to the next. When Sara passed on, this miracle ceased. When Yitzchak married Rivka, however, the miracle resumed. Another idea that is expressed here is the commandment to fear the leader. In a similar vein, the Tikkunei Zohar states that the word Bereishis forms the words yarei Shabbos, fear of Shabbos. On Shabbos, we rejoice in the kingship of HaShem, but there is also an element of fear of Shabbos. We should merit to respect and fear Torah scholars and we should merit respecting and fearing the Shabbos.

Shabbos in the Daf

Kesubos 7b

The Gemara states that the blessing of the bridegrooms is recited amongst ten males for the seven days of celebration. Rav Yehudah qualified this statement to be referring to a situation where there is a panim chadashos, a new face, i.e. a person who had not been in attendance at any of the prior festivities. Tosfos notes that Shabbos is deemed to be a panim chadashos, as the Medrash states: Mizmor shir leyom HaShabbos, a psalm, a song for Shabbos (Tehillim 92:1) HaShem said, “a panim chadashos has arrived, so let us sing praise.” Shabbos is deemed to be a new entity, and as explained above, it is for this reason that Shabbos reflects Teshuvah, repentance, because when one repents, he is deemed to be a new creation.

Shabbos in Halacha

If a ladle is left in the pot for an extended period, or if it is immersed many times in succession, all the halachic authorities agree that the ladle is deemed to be a kli rishon. However, the bowl in this case is only deemed to be a kli sheini, and one cannot add baked or uncooked seasoning unless the soup is transferred to a kli shelishi or if the soup cools below yad soledes bo. It should be noted that the question concerning a ladle is not relevant to pre-cooked seasonings, i.e. salt, which all opinions agree that it can be added to a kli sheini.

Shabbos in Numbers and Words

We commence the Kabbalas Shabbos prayers with the words lechu neranenah laHashem nariah litzur yisheinu, Come! Let us sing to HaShem, let us call out to the Rock of our salvation. The words litzur yesha equal in gematria to the word HaShabbos.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5767

is sponsored lizchus Yaakov Ben Miriam Bracha, shefa bracha vihatzlacha

Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos and a K’siva V’achasima Tova

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

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