Shabbos in the Parashah
This week is referred to as Shabbos Chazon, as we read the Haftorah from the Book of Yeshaya where the prophet chastises the Jewish People who have strayed in their serviced of HaShem. This coming week is Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of Av, a day in Jewish history when many calamities have befallen the Jewish People. The meraglim, the spies, caused the Jewish People to cry on Tisha B’Av because they were afraid to enter into Eretz Yisroel. The first and second Bais HaMikdash was destroyed on Tisha B’Av, and numerous other tragedies have either occurred or commenced on Tisha B’Av. The Gemara (Yoma 9b) teaches us that the catalyst for the destruction of the second Bais HaMikdash was sinas chinam, baseless hatred. How can we rectify this sin? It is noteworthy that the last verse in the Book of Eicha (5:21), which we read on Tisha B’Av, states: hashiveinu HaShem eilecho vinashuva chadeish yameinu kikedem, bring us back to you HaShem, and we shall return, renew our days as of old. What is this request that we make of HaShem, and why is this supplication the last verse in Eichah? If we contemplate human relationships, we will notice that the reason it is so hard to like or forgive someone is because we look at that person and we remember his past misdeeds. When our minds replay all the injustices and grievances that someone else has committed against us, it may be very difficult to warrant finding a reason to love that person. Yet, if we examine the idea of Teshuvah, repentance, we will realize that HaShem allows us to appear before Him as a new person, not as the sinner that HaShem was viewing prior to the repentance. The Gemara (Pesachim 54a) tells us that the concept of Teshuvah existed before the creation of the world. In a sense, the creation of the world was predicated on repentance. Adam HaRishon was confronted with a situation where he should have refrained from sin, and then the world would have remained in a state of perfection. Yet, because Teshuvah is a part of the process that mankind must undergo, Adam sinned and was then granted a reprieve because of his repentance. When Adam HaRishon became aware of the potency of repentance, he burst out in song, declaring the words of the psalmist (Tehillim 92:1) mizmor shir leyom HaShabbos, a psalm, a song for the Shabbos day. The reason Adam chose these words is because Shabbos, whose meaning is derived from the word shav, to return, reflects repentance. The Sfas Emes explains that on Shabbos everything in the world returns to its source. Thus, the world in a sense reaches its state of perfection every Shabbos. It is for this reason that on Shabbos one should talk differently, dress differently and perform all of his actions differently than he would during the week, as on Shabbos one is a different person. Thus, Shabbos and Teshuvah are one and the same. During these three weeks and on Tisha B’Av, it is incumbent upon us to do Teshuvah, and once we demonstrate to HaShem that we are willing to change and view ourselves and others differently, then HaShem will renew our days as of old, and HaShem will bring us the redemption that we are all longing for We will then merit the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu and our return to Eretz Yisroel with the building of the third and final Bais HaMikdash, speedily, in our days, amen.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Ribbon kol HaOlamim
Published in 5401 (1641)
Adon kol haneshamos adon haShalom, Lord of all souls, Lord of peace. How does one achieve peace on Shabbos? The Gemara (Beitzah 16a) teaches us that with the onset of Shabbos, a Jew receives a neshama yeseira, an extra soul that remains with him throughout the entire Shabbos. We refer to HaShem as the Lord of all souls, Lord of peace, because it is specifically when we have all our souls i.e. on Shabbos, when HaShem bestows us with an extra soul, that we are granted true peace.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Netzach gedulah ugevurah, triumph, greatness and strength. What is the association of these three attributes? We normally associate the concept of netzach, eternity, with Moshe, the giver of the Torah. Yet, in this passage, netzach precedes gedulah and gevurah. Gedulah, greatness, symbolizes kindness, which was the attribute of Avraham, and gevurah means strength, which reflects the attribute of Yitzchak. Yaakov reflects the attribute of tiferes, splendor, which is deemed to be a synthesis of gedulah and gevurah. Yet, Yaakov also reflects the attribute of emes, truth, and the Torah is referred to as truth. Perhaps this passage alludes to the idea that even the attributes of kindness and strength are contingent on one studying and observing the Torah. This idea is in line with the Medrash (Tanna D’bei Eliyahu 31) that states that HaShem looked into the world and created the Torah, as the Torah is the blueprint of the world.
The winter of 1952 was a joyous time in the Homnick household. Yaakov Yitzchok, their oldest son, was engaged. The Friday morning after the engagement was announced, Yaakov Yitzchok set off to Manhattan on a happy errand; his father had given him a sizeable sum of money with which he was to choose an engagement ring for his kallah from Manhattan’s famous diamond district, on 47th street. Yaakov Yitzchok dutifully followed his father’s instructions, visiting all the stores he had suggested. Yet he could not find the right ring at the right price. It was Erev Shabbos, and Yaakov Yitzchok could not take the risk of getting stuck on his way home for Shabbos. Eventually, it became so late that Yaakov Yitzchok knew he had to start heading home if he hoped to get back in time for Shabbos. Despairing of finding a ring this time around, he waited in line and boarded the train, his thoughts still occupied by settings and sapphires. A sudden jolt wrenched Yaakov Yitzchok from his contemplation. The train had inexplicably come to a complete halt. “Due to mechanical difficulties, we have stopped the train for a short period of time. We hope to resume service shortly,” came the voice of the conductor over the speakers. His fellow passengers sat back and resigned themselves to the inevitable wait. But Yaakov Yitzchok looked at his watch anxiously. Would it really take just a few minutes, or perhaps hours? He did not have much time to spare-Shabbos was coming. The clock ticked slowly by. Sure enough, it was nearly an hour before the train, with a sudden lurch, finally began moving again. Now what? There was no way Yaakov Yitzchok could make it home in time for Shabbos. He would have to get off at an earlier stop, and walk the rest of the way. Yaakov Yitzchok glanced out of the window. The train was pulling into the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, and time had just about run out. This was going to have to be his stop. Leaving the station, Yaakov Yitzchok looked around in indecision. He had to act quickly. It is forbidden to carry anything in a public domain on Shabbos, all the more so money. Yaakov Yitzchok needed to find someone with whom to deposit his large sum of money over Shabbos. Yaakov Yitzchok began looking around, hoping to find a Jewish storekeeper in one of the nearby stores. It took only two stores for Yaakov Yitzchok to find a store with a mezuzah on its door. The man behind the counter was clearly Jewish. He was a complete stranger, but Yaakov Yitzchok had no choice but to trust him. “Excuse me,” he said breathlessly, “you are Jewish, right?” The man eyed him uneasily. “Yes, I am. Why do you ask?” Yaakov Yitzchok reached into his pocket and pulled out the envelope his father had given him. “I am a religious Jew, and I can not carry on Shabbos,” he explained. “My train was delayed, and I have to walk home, but I cannot carry this money with me. Could you please keep it for me? I will come back after Shabbos to pick it up.” With that, he handed the money to the dumbfounded shopkeeper, and turned and left. Yaakov Yitzchok arrived home to find his concerned parents waiting for him. His father well understood the concept of sacrifice in order to observe Shabbos-he was the second shomer Shabbos pharmacist in America. He was proud of his son’s actions, but he was nevertheless concerned about the money, which was a substantial portion of their savings. On Sunday morning, father and son took the train back to the store, hoping his trust had not been misplaced. Yaakov Yitzchok approached the storekeeper. “Thank you for keeping my money over Shabbos,” he said politely. “Could I have it back now?” “Of course,” the man replied. He seemed strangely emotional. “Just a minute while I get it for you.” When he returned, with the envelope in his hand, there were tears in his eyes. “You know,” he said, “when I first came to America from Europe, I really wanted to keep Shabbos, but hardly anyone was. It was next to impossible. But on Friday you showed me that it is always possible to keep Shabbos, no matter how great the sacrifice. I did not think there were still Jews for whom Shabbos was so dear.” (Adapted from Visions of Greatness, Rabbi Yosef Weiss, volume 5)
Shabbos in History
It is said (Shemos 35:3) lo sevaaru eish bechol moshvoseichem biyom HaShabbos, you shall not kindle fire in any of your dwellings on the Shabbos day. The Chasam Sofer interprets this verse homiletically to mean that if you want your soul to be ignited with the spiritual fire of Shabbos, do not bother trying to “light the flame” once Shabbos has already arrived. The reason for this is because on Shabbos we do not light fires. Rather, the fire should have been ignited during the weekdays and only then can the fire burn throughout Shabbos with greater intensity and clarity.
The Gemara states that there are three signs that indicate that one is a Jew. The three signs are that one is compassionate, shameful and performs acts of kindness. It is noteworthy that the word Bereishis is an acrostic for the word yarei boshes, fearful and shameful, and the word Bereishis is also an acrostic for the words yarei Shabbos. When Shabbos arrives, one is ashamed of the sins that he may have committed during the week, and this shame leads him to fear HaShem, Who instructed us regarding the observance of the Shabbos.
Shabbos in Halacha
The laws regarding solid foods are somewhat different than the laws regarding liquids with regard to the three vessels mentioned previously. The term solid foods refers to any food that does not have much liquid or gravy, such as meat, chicken, kugel and kishke, and foods that are clumped together, i.e. a dry cholent. Solid foods that are in a kli rishon are similar to liquids in that they are capable of cooking anything they come into contact with. For this reason one is prohibited from adding any uncooked seasoning to a food in a kli rishon that is yad soledes bo.
Shabbos in Numbers and Words
The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:2) states that HaShem blessed the Shabbos by having the manna descend during the week and HaShem sanctified the Shabbos by not having manna descend on Shabbos. The word man in mispar katan, digit sum, equals 9, and the word Shabbos in mispar katan equals 9, which signifies that the manna is intertwined with the holiness of Shabbos.
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Devarim-Chazon 5767
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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I will be giving a lecture this Shabbos for men only at Dovid Ben Nuchim-Aish Kodesh 14800 West Lincoln at 7:45 pm, on the topic of sinas chinam, baseless hatred, which was the catalyst that destroyed the Bais HaMikdash and sent the Jewish People into exile. The purpose of the lecture is to inspire ourselves to rectify this sin and this topic is appropriate for Shabbos Kodesh, as Shabbos has the power to rectify this sin and allow us to merit the Ultimate Redemption with the arrival of Moshiach, speedily, in our days.