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Home » B'Har, Shabbos

B’har: The Nature of Shabbos

Submitted by on May 7, 2006 – 3:41 amNo Comment | 3,098 views

Shabbos – The Crown of the Week

When you come into your land… the earth shall rest a Shabbos for Hashem. For six years you shall sow your land but the seventh year shall be…a Shabbos for Hashem.” (Our Parsha, Leviticus 25, 2-4) This verse begins with a discussion of Shabbos, moves on to discuss the six years and then returns to Shabbos! What is the purpose of this circuitry?

The seven-year cycle, which makes up the shemitah – (sabbatical) is reflective of the seven-day cycle, which makes up our week. Our week begins with Sunday yet its predicate is Shabbos. Every morning before we recite the song of the day we declare, “Today is the first day of Shabbos.” This, according to Nachmanidies, is how we fulfill the mitzvah of remembering Shabbos every day.

Shabbos – The Product of the Week

Shabbos is greater than the rest of the week, yet weekdays create the Shabbos. The Talmud says, “He who has toiled and prepared before Shabbos will eat on Shabbos.Lighting Shabbos CandlesSurely the eating referred to here is not merely physical but also spiritual; our spiritual achievement during the course of the week generates the reward that we enjoy on Shabbos.

This is the element of Shabbos that is vested in the weekday itself. All week long we work for Shabbos. All week long we build up the spirit of Shabbos. In fact, the extent of our experience on Shabbos depends on the effort we make during the preceding weekdays. If we succeed during the week we have a fulfilling Shabbos. If not we try again next week.

Saving for Shabbos

This insight lends significance to the custom of our great sage Shamai. We are told that whenever he came across a nice garment or a delicacy he would say, “Save it for Shabbos.” Torah is compared to food and the commandments are compared to garments. We might say that whenever Shamai felt that he had performed a mitzvah well or studied Torah correctly he would say, “We have just saved up for a good Shabbos.”

It is now much easier to understand the Zohar’s statement, “Shabbos is the blessing of the entire week.” Is this perhaps why we wish one another a “Good Shabbos?” The wish of Good Shabbos is in effect a wish for a “Good Week.”

May we carve out for ourselves a lifetime of Good Shabbosim and merit to see the day when it will be Kulo Shabbos – entirely Shabbos.