Thursday, February 5, 2009

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Beshalach 5769

שבת טעם החיים פרשת בשלח תשס"ט
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Beshalach 5769
Shabbos, manna and daas
In this week’s parasha we learn about the fascinating chapter of the manna that HaShem provided for the Jewish People while they sojourned in the Wilderness. The manna was miraculous in that it fell from heaven every day except for Shabbos and every Jew received exactly what he needed for sustenance. Furthermore one who ate the manna did not need to relieve himself afterwards and the Amana tasted like any food that one desired. There is one as act of the manna, however, that is not as well known, and that is that the manna was not named by HaShem or by Moshe. Rather, it is said (Shemos 16:4-5) vayomer HaShem el Moshe hinini mamtir lachem min hashamayim viyatza haam vilaktu divar yom biyomo limaan anasenu hayeielch bisorasi im lo vihayah bayom hashishi viheichinu eis asher yaviu vihayah mishneh al asher yilkitu yom yom, HaShem said to Moshe, “Behold! – I shall rain down for you food from heaven, let the people go out and pick each day’s portion on its day, so that I can test them, whether they will follow My teaching or not. And it shall be that on the sixth day when they prepare what they bring, it will be double what they pick every day.” Further on it is said (Ibid verse 15) vayiru vinei Yisroel vayomru ish el achiv man hu ki lo yadu mah hu vayomer Moshe aleihem hu halechem asher nasan HaShem lachem liachlah, the Children of Israel saw and said to one another, “It is food!” – for they did not know what it was. Moshe said to them, “This is the food that HaShem has given you for eating. One must wonder why the Jewish People referred to the food as manna.
Why did Moshe not inform the Jewish People regarding Shabbos?
Another difficulty that must be addressed regarding the manna is the fact that the manna did not fall on Shabbos. It is said (Ibid verse 22) vayehi bayom hashishi laktu lechem mishneh shinei haomer laechod vayavou kol nisiei haeidah vayagidu liMoshe vayomer aleihem hu asher diber HaShem Shabbason Shabbas kodesh laHaShem machar eis asher tofu eifu vieis asher tivashilu basheiulu vieis kol haodeif hanichu lachem limishmeres ad haboker, it happened on the sixth day that they gathered a double portion of food, two omers for each; and all the princes of the assembly came and told Moshe. He said to them, “This is what HaShem had spoken; tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbos to HaShem. Bake what you wish to bake and cook what you wish to cook; and whatever is left over, put a way for yourselves as a safekeeping until the morning. Rashi (verse 22) writes that the princes queried Moshe regarding the double portion of the manna and from here we derive that Moshe had not yet informed the Jewish People regarding the aspect of manna not falling on Shabbos and the receiving of a double portion of manna on Friday. Once the princes asked Moshe regarding this phenomena, Moshe informed them regarding Shabbos and HaShem chastised Moshe for this. This is difficult to understand, because Rashi writes earlier (verse 4) that the test that HaShem set up for the Jewish People was to see if they would be successful at not leaving over the manna and that they would not go searching for manna on Shabbos. It is said (Ibid verses 19-20) vayomer Moshe aleihem ish al yoser mimenu ad boker vilo shamu el Moshe vayosiru anashim mimenu ad boker vayarum tolaim vayivash vayiktzof aleihem Moshe, Moshe said to them, “No man may leave over from it until morning.” But they did not obey Moshe and people left over from it until morning and it became infested with worms and it stank; and Moshe became angry with them. It is clear that Moshe knew what he was supposed to inform the Jewish People regarding the manna. Why, then, did Moshe choose to not inform the Jewish People of the uniqueness of the manna with regard to Shabbos?
The double portion of manna on Friday was a prelude to attaining daas on Shabbos
Regarding the definition of Shabbos it is said (Ibid 31:13) viatah dabeir el bnei Yisroel leimor ach es Shabsosai 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.’ Thus, the essence of Shabbos is daas, knowledge, which on a deeper level means a closeness that the Jewish People have with HaShem. The Gemara (Shabbos 10b) states that HaShem told Moshe, “I have a beautiful treasure in My treasure house and it is called Shabbos. Go and inform them.” What is the meaning of this statement? It would appear that Moshe wished that the Jewish People should be able to understand on their own the significance of Shabbos. How were the Jewish People to understand the significance of Shabbos on their own? They had experienced Shabbos in Egypt, and according to the Gemara (Sanhedrin 56b) Moshe had instructed them regarding Shabbos in Marah. This should have been sufficient for them to grasp the holiness of Shabbos. However, they were still lacking daas, as the Gemara states (Brachos 40a) a child does not begin to call “Abba, Imma, father, mother” until he tastes wheat. Thus, when the Jewish People saw the manna, they declared “man hu, it is food!” The Rashbam (Shemos 16:15) writes that the word man in Egyptian means “what.” It is said (Ibid) vayiru vinei Yisroel vayomru ish el achiv man hu ki lo yadu mah hu vayomer Moshe aleihem hu halechem asher nasan HaShem lachem liachlah, the Children of Israel saw and said to one another, “It is food!” – for they did not know what it was. The Torah specifically states that they referred to it as man because they did not “know” what it was. Had they understood what the manna was, they would have been able to attain the level of daas which is inherent in Shabbos. Since they had not attained this level of understanding, the princes approached Moshe on Friday to inquire regarding the double portion that they had received. It was only then that they were so close to Shabbos and Moshe informed them of the holiness of Shabbos. When HaShem chastised Moshe for not informing the Jewish People regarding Shabbos, it is said (Ibid 16:29) riu ki HaShem nasan lachem haShabbos al kein hu nosein lachem bayom hashishi lechem yomayim shevu ish tachtav al yeitzei ish mimekomo bayom hashevii, see that HaShem has given you the Shabbos; that is why He gives you on the sixth day a two-day portion of bread. HaShem was informing Moshe that in order for the Jewish People to attain the level of daas that one experiences on Shabbos, they would first have to see that HaShem had given them the Shabbos, and this was only manifest through the double portion of manna that they received on Friday.

The Shabbos connection
The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:2) teaches us that there are two aspects of Shabbos. One aspect of Shabbos is the blessing of Shabbos, which was reflected in the fact that the Jewish People received two portions of manna on Friday. The second aspect of Shabbos is that by the fact that the manna did not fall on Shabbos, the Shabbos was sanctified. Daas, closeness, and kedusha, holiness, are intertwined, as it is said ladaas ki ani HaShem mikadishchem, to know that I am HaShem, Who makes you holy. Thus, one must first, in a sense, experience Shabbos during the week in order to attain the level of daas that can be experienced on Shabbos. HaShem should allow us to be cognizant of Shabbos during the week and thus experience the closeness and holiness of Shabbos on Shabbos.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Menuchah Visimchah
Composed by an unknown author named Moshe
Enjoying Shabbos in this world is a vehicle to enjoy Shabbos in the World to Come
Yizku lirav tuv hamisangim bah bivias goel lichayei haolam haba, they will merit much good, those who take pleasure in it – with the redeemers’ coming, for the life of the World to Come. Observing Shabbos in this world is a vehicle to merit the Ultimate Redemption when it will be completely Shabbos and rest day for eternal life. We should be cognizant of the fact that observance of Shabbos brings to the Ultimate Redemption, saves us from the punishment of Gehinom, and gives us pleasure in this world and in the World to Come.
Shabbos in Tefillah
No jealousy amongst the angels
Vinosnim beahavah reshus zeh lazeh, and lovingly grant permission to one another. The Gemara (Shabbos 89a) states that when Moshe ascended on high to accept the Torah from HaShem, the angels protested. Moshe asked the angels, “do you have jealousy amongst yourselves?” The virtue of the angels is that they are not jealous of each other, so they can certainly lovingly grant permission to each other to sanctify HaShem’s Name. We should learn from the angels and improve our relationships with our fellow Jews. Once we love each Jew, we can unite to sanctify HaShem’s Name.

Shabbos Story
Not worth sleeping a lot every night
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffman writes: The Rebbetzin of the holy Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikelsburg once came to her husband's contemporary, the Rebbe Reb' Elimelech of Lizhensk with a desperate plea: The doctors had warned her husband that he was sleeping far too little, and that his health was deteriorating as a result. Yet their warnings had fallen on deaf ears: Her holy husband absolutely refused to change his grueling schedule to allow for more sleep. It was a situation of pikuach nefesh, a question of life and death, she said. Perhaps, she pleaded, Reb Elimelech would be able to convince her husband to allow himself a little more rest!
Soon afterwards, Reb Elimelech arrived in Nikelsburg with a group of his disciples. They were told to go about arranging a seudah, a festive meal, in honor of the Rebbe Reb Shmelke. Reb Elimelech personally invited Reb Shmelke to the seudah, an honor which he could not refuse. At the meal, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech took out a bottle of very rare whisky, poured a glass for himself and for Reb Shmelke, and made a le-chaim. Reb Elimelech then seemingly sipped from his schnapps, as did Reb Shmelke. In truth, however, Reb Elimelech did not drink from his whisky, for it was spiked. Even a small amount was enough to put Reb Shmelke to sleep on the spot. Reb Elimelech had Reb Shmelke carried off to his home, where he was put to bed for the night.
The next morning, the Rebbe Reb Shmelke awoke, startled to have slept through the night, but with an invigorated spirit. Upon arriving in shul to pray, he was joined by a large group of Chassidim, who did not fail to notice the unusual energy of the Rebbe’s prayers. They too felt energized by the Rebbe's powerful spirit, and that day's Shacharis took on a special quality. Indeed, it is told that on that day, when the Rebbe reached the Shiras Ha-Yam, the Song at the Sea, the entire congregation was swept away by the powerful vision of the Jews crossing the Sea of Reeds with Moshe Rabbeinu at their helm, to the extent that Reb Shmelke actually picked up his bekitsche (traditional chassidic coat) as he stepped into the raging waters. The Chassidim too followed suit. This was not pretentiousness - that day they truly satisfied the obligation of our Sages that, “Each person should imagine that he himself was redeemed from Egypt.”
That evening, the Rebbe again sat with his disciples. When Reb Elimelech arrived, a place was made for him at the head-table, next to the Rebbe. Once seated, Reb Elimelech again took out his now infamous “bottle,” and poured a glass for Reb Shmelke. “Perhaps you think,” said the Rebbe, “that I am a fool? It was enough that yesterday you robbed me of my entire night. I can’t recall ever spending a whole night sleeping. Mark my word: I’m not going to make the same mistake twice!”
“But the Rebbe himself saw,” argued Reb Elimelech, “the power of his tefillos (prayers) this morning. We all felt as if we were truly traversing the Sea of Reeds!”
“Indeed,” said Reb Shmelke, “when Shmelke spends all his nights immersed in Torah study, and once in his life he sleeps through the night, that indeed was a wonderful experience. But can you imagine what would become of Shmelke if he will begin to allow himself ‘a good night’s sleep’ every night? Shmelke will become just another farshlufenne Yid (sleepy Jew)!”
[Reprinted with permission from]
Shabbos in Navi
Shmuel I Chapter 28

Shabbos is a day for the living

In this chapter we learn how Shaul feared the Plishtim who had mobilized their army to battle the Jewish People. Shaul disguised himself and sought out a female necromancer who raised up Shmuel from the dead. Shmuel informed Shaul that his kingship would be torn from him and given to Dovid. Furthermore, Shmuel informed Shaul that the Jewish People and Shaul would be delivered into the hands of the Plishtim and Shaul and his sons would die. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 65b) states that proof that Shabbos exists in the world is because a necromancer cannot raise up the dead on Shabbos. Perhaps the deeper meaning of this statement is that Shabbos is the life of the world, and the dead do not take part in Shabbos in any form. Similarly, the Gemara (Ibid and Rashi ad loc) states that the wicked are not punished in Gehinom on Shabbos. This statement also implies that Shabbos is for the living and the holiness of Shabbos even extends to those who are no longer alive.

Shabbos in Agadah

Shabbos is the marriage of HaShem and the Jewish People

The Medrash states that the idea that HaShem only gave the Shabbos to the Jewish People can be reflected in a parable of the king sitting with the queen and a commoner passes in between them. The commoner would certainly be put to death. Similarly, a gentile who observes the Shabbos is liable the death penalty, as he is attempting to place a barrier between HaShem and the Jewish People. The Sfas Ems (Beshalach 5637) explains that the six days of the week are a cloak in time as each day has an influence even for the nations of the world. Shabbos, however, is sanctified, similar to the concept of kiddushin, where a man takes a wife and she is now forbidden to all other men. Thus, Shabbos does not have an outer cloak. Rather, Shabbos only contains holiness, and only the Jewish People, who are able to cleave to the “body of the king” received the Shabbos. It was for this reason that that the Jewish People could only receive Shabbos after being liberated from Egypt, as their souls were then purified and they were then deserving to accept the Shabbos.

Shabbos in Halacha

Insulating with a heat-retaining material

Most materials that one wraps around a container of hot food only serve to retain the heat of the food or to slow its cooling process. Materials like cloth, aluminum foil, paper, wool, cotton and the like are referred to as davar shemamid hevel, heat-retaining substances. One can wrap a pot of hot food in heat-retaining material on Erev Shabbos. On Shabbos, however, one is prohibited from insulating a pot of food with such material. One cannot even enclose completely on Shabbos a pot that that was partially insulated in such material Erev Shabbos. It is for this reason that one is permitted to wrap a pot in a towel or blanket prior to Shabbos so that it will remain warm for the Friday night meal. A pot left unwrapped prior to Shabbos, however, cannot be insulated on Shabbos.

Shabbos Challenge Question

Last week we posed the question: what is the source for eating meat of an animal on Shabbos? The Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos 30:10) writes that eating meat and drinking wine on Shabbos is deemed to be delighting in the Shabbos. The Pinei Menachem suggests that the source for eating meat of an animal on Shabbos is because the Gemara (Shabbos 119b) states that the household of Rabbi Abbahu would slaughter a calf at the conclusion of every Shabbos and Rabbi Abbahu would eat one of its kidneys. When Rabbi Abahu’s son grew up he asked why an additional calf had to be slaughtered after Shabbos, especially for the Melaveh Malka, when they could instead save the kidney from the calf that they regularly slaughtered for their Shabbos meals. His advice was well taken, and a bit of the Shabbos meat was set aside for the Melaveh Malka. However, a lion came and devoured the calf, so that nothing was gained by the suggestion. The Pinei Menachem infers from this episode that it was the custom to eat meat of an animal on Shabbos.

This week’s question is, why do we recite in the blessing of Retzei in Bircas Hamazon that there should be no distress, grief, or lament on this day of contentment? Do we only desire that Shabbos should be free of strife and not the rest of the week? If you have a possible answer, please email me at and your answer will be posted in next week’s edition of Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim
Parashas Beshalach 5769
I will be giving a class in Navi on Shabbos afternoon at Beis Haknesses HaGra 14561 Lincoln in Oak Park, a half an hour before Minchah.
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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