Shabbos in the Parashah
In this week’s parashah the Torah states (Devarim 11:29) vihaya ki yiviachao HaShem elokecha el haaretz asher atah va shamah lirishta vinasta es habracha al har Grasim ves hakelalah al har eival, it shall be that when HaShem, your G-d, brings you to the land to which you come, to posses it, then you shall deliver the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Eival. One must wonder what the significance of these two mountains is. Were they strategic locations in that time period, or is there a deeper significance regarding these two mountains? The Ramban (Ibid 11:29) writes that Har Gerizim was to the south, which is to the right, and Har Eival was to the north, as it is said (Yirmiyah 1:14) mitzafon tipasach haraah, from the North the evil will be released. It is obvious that this statement of the Ramban has a deeper meaning, as north and south would appear to be merely locations and not harbingers of good or bad. Yet, the Ramban understands that everything in the Torah has significance, and even the locations of the two mountains that existed since creation had a function in the Jewish People accepting the covenant that Moshe transmitted from HaShem. What is so significant about location? We have previously explained that Shabbos is referred to as the makom, the place, of HaShem. This appellation would appear to be strange, as Shabbos is a time of the week, i.e. the seventh day of the week, so why do we refer to Shabbos as the place? To understand the significance of Shabbos being referred to as the place, we must attempt to understand why HaShem is referred to as HaMakom, The Place. HaShem is beyond space and time, so why refer to Him as The Place? The Medrash (Pesikta Rabbasi 21) states that the world is not mekomo shel HaKadosh baruch hu, the place of HaShem. Rather, Hu mekomo shel haOlam, Hashem is the place of the world. This would seem to be an issue of semantics. Yet, if we contemplate this statement, we would gain a true insight into HaShem and the wonderful gift of Shabbos that He bestows upon the Jewish People. The world is not HaShem’s place. How can this be? Does not everything belong to HaShem? The answer is that this definition would limit HaShem, as in a sense this would imply that the world is, Heaven forbid, the place where HaShem resides. In truth, however, HaShem is the place of the world, because the entire world draws its sustenance from HaShem. If HaShem were to allow, so to speak, that the world be released from His control even for a moment, the world would cease to exist. Similarly, we draw our physical and spiritual nourishment during the week from Shabbos. Thus, limiting Shabbos to a time would be akin to limiting HaShem, Heaven forbid, to residing in the world. Shabbos is truly beyond time and space, and for this reason we refer to Shabbos as the place of HaShem. With this premise in mind, we can understand why the Ramban categorizes the two mountains as the right and the left. The Shelah (Parashas Re’eh Torah Ohr 7) writes that just as there are two mountains of Mount Gerizim and Mount Eival in this world below, there are also two corresponding mountains above. One mountain is the Good Mountain i.e. “who may ascend the mountain of HaShem, and who may stand in the place of His sanctity?” The second mountain is Mount Seir i.e. “the mountain of darkness and the shadow of death,” which draws its nourishment from the Evil Inclination. Thus, the mountains do not only represent specific influences in this world. They also symbolize corresponding influences in the world above. Shabbos is also referred to in this manner, as the Gemara (Brachos 57b) depicts Shabbos as a semblance of the World to Come. While we are delighting in the Shabbos in this world below, we are also in a sense delighting in the Shabbos of the world above. May HaShem allow us to merit the day that will be completely Shabbos and rest day for eternal life.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Ribbon kol HaOlamim
Published in 5401 (1641)
Melech gadol, King Who is great. One must wonder why we refer to HaShem as great if we acknowledge HaShem as our King. Is it not obvious that the King of all kings is great? Although this question can be applied to any appellation that we use to describe HaShem, the word gadol, great, warrants extra scrutiny. The word gedulah is normally associated with the attribute of chesed, kindness. When we refer to HaShem as the Great King, we are not merely stating that HaShem is great. We are declaring that HaShem created a world that is founded on kindness, and HaShem continues to support the world through kindness. The greatness of a king is reflected in his kindness to his subjects, and this is how we perceive the greatness of HaShem
Shabbos in Tefillah
Brachos vehodaos, blessings and thanksgiving. It is interesting that we declare that it is fitting to offer to HaShem blessings and thanksgivings. Would it not be more appropriate to actually bless and thank HaShem than to declare that it is fitting to do so? Perhaps the answer to this question is that although one is required to bless and thank HaShem every second of the day, it is very easy to lose sight of this requirement when we are occupied in the daily pursuits of life. For this reason we declare that at the very least it is fitting to offer blessings and thanksgiving to HaShem, despite the fact that we are not always conscious of doing so. Additionally, after making this declaration, we continue with our declaration by reciting a blessing, which we will discuss in the near future.
The chassid was puzzled. For weeks he had looked forward to his trip to Lublin, so that he could once again spend Shabbos in the presence of his holy Rebbe, the Chozeh. These visits to his Rebbe had always given nourishment to his soul and sustained him during the long months when he was forced to tend to his far-flung business affairs. But now, as he sat among the hundreds of other chassidim crowded around the Chozeh’s table, instead of experiencing his usual feelings of blissful contentment his mind was filled with a nagging doubt that refused to leave him. At this particular Shalosh Seudas meal, the Chozeh was expounding upon the pasuk “Hashem makes poor and makes rich” (Shmuel I 2:7). “In one moment,” the Chozeh explained, “HaShem makes poor, and HaShem makes rich.” While the Chozeh continued to unravel mystery upon mystery in his discourse, the chassid-who happened to be a very successful businessman-remained stuck at this one point in the drasha. “Make poor in one moment?” he wondered to himself. “How is that possible? I, for instance, have diverse business dealings in towns and villages scattered throughout Poland. If one of my stores in Warsaw should suddenly flounder, G-d forbid, well, do I not have plenty of other enterprises that could still flourish? Even if Hashem should cause a war to break out, chas veshalom, surely it would take more than one moment to destroy all of my wealth.” The chassid was so absorbed in his thoughts that he did not even notice that the Chozeh had stopped speaking and that there was now silence in the room. All eyes were upon this one chassid-including the penetrating eyes of the Chozeh. “In one moment,” the Chozeh thundered, for of course, the Chozeh could read the chassid’s thoughts. The chassid looked up and suddenly realized he was the center of attention. Seizing the opportunity, he asked, “but how is it possible to make poor in one moment?” “Go your way and you will see,” the Chozeh replied. After Shabbos, the chassid returned home. As he reached the outskirts of the Jewish section of his town, three stars were already shining brightly in the night sky and lights began to glow in the windows of his neighbors’ homes. Although he knew that he should hurry on to shul so that he could daven Maariv with his usual minyan, this time the chassid decided to tarry for a moment. Because the chassid’s many business concerns forced him to travel a great deal, he was sometimes asked by Jewish and non-Jewish neighbors to conduct an occasional business transaction in Warsaw or Lublin or wherever his travels might take him. Even the town priest would sometimes ask the chassid to perform some small transaction on his behalf, and the chassid would agree for the sake of maintaining peaceful relations between the Jewish community and the rest of the town. The chassid had performed such a transaction during his trip to Lublin, and in his pocket now sat a certain sum of money that belonged to the priest. Seeing that the lamps were lit in the home of the clergyman, the chassid decided to save himself some time by dropping off the cash now. “It will only take a moment,” the chassid reasoned, “and then I can go daven.” The priest received the chassid cordially and thanked him for performing this small service on his behalf. But no sooner had the money exchanged hands than the chassid was suddenly seized with a powerful, inexplicable urge to abandon his faith-and to become baptized! The chassid fell to his knees and begged the priest to perform the ceremony at once. The priest, however, was no fool. “You liar! You scoundrel!” the priest shrieked. “I have befriended you for fifteen years, and this is how you repay me? By mocking me?” The priest tried to throw the chassid out the door, but the chassid would not be turned away. He persisted with his pleadings until at last the priest began to relent. “I will baptize you on one condition,” the priest said. “To prove you are serious about abandoning your faith and your entire former way of life, write me out a deed of sale conveying all your property to me as an absolute gift.” The chassid readily agreed. Paper and pen were brought and the man quickly wrote down every store and field and factory that he owned, down to the very last shoelace. He signed his name to the document with a flourish and sealed it with his signet. The man then deposited the deed into the outstretched hand of the priest. At the very instant that the document left the chassid’s hands, the madness that had seized him departed. Shocked by what he had almost done-and saddened by what he had actually done-the chassid fled from the priest’s house and ran as fast as his legs would take him to the security of the beis medrash. There he collapsed into a corner, his body still trembling from fright at what had almost happened. “My wealth is gone, but at least I still have my soul,” the poor man said to myself. “Baruch Hashem, at least I did not lose my soul in that one moment of madness.” As the chassid muttered these words to himself, he realized that what had just happened to him was no accident. As the Chozeh had promised, the man had now seen for himself how it was possible to become a pauper in just one moment. The poor man was seized with a terrible regret that he had doubted the truth of the Chozeh’s words, and he resolved to return to Lublin at once. “It is good that you have resolved this difficulty in your mind, and that you now understand how Hashem can make poor in one moment,” the Chozeh said to the contrite chassid, upon his arrival in Lublin. “But, Rebbe!” the man cried out. “I have lost everything. How am I to live? I will be forced to wander like a beggar in exile. Now please help me understand how Hashem makes rich in one moment.” “Go your way,” replied the Chozeh, “and may Hashem help you see this, as well.” The chassid left the Chozeh and wearily made his way back home. When he reached his town, he was alarmed to saw dark clouds of smoke hovering above it. He ran to see what had happened, but as he approached the outskirts of the Jewish quarter his path was blocked by a large crowd of people. “What has happened?” he asked one of the townspeople. “A fire broke out in the priest’s home just a little while ago,” the other man replied. “The whole house went up into flames in an instant.” Everything that the priest had owned, including the chassid’s deed of sale, had been turned into soot and ashes. Now that the chassid’s deed of sale no longer existed, the chassid was once again a wealthy man. “Yes, it is true,” the chassid said to himself as pondered upon this second sudden change in his fortune. “HaShem can make poor and make rich in a moment. No situation is so sure or so hopeless that it can’t be changed in the blink of an eye.”
Shabbos in History
Reb Elazar, the son of the illustrious Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizensk zt”l once spent Shabbos at the court of the famous Rebbe Reb Pinchas of Koritz zt”l. After davening (prayers), as is the custom in Chassidic courts, Reb Pinchas held a Tish (a communal Shabbos meal led by the Rebbe). Being the son of a great tzaddik (righteous person), Reb Elazar was given a seat next to the Rebbe. At one point, Reb Elazar, caught up in his own holy thoughts, sighed to himself, “Oy-Tatte,” (O Father-a reference to G-d). Reb Pinchas, who was renowned for his cutting truthfulness and abhorrence of lip-service, overheard his krechtz (sigh). He turned to him and whispered, “Who says?” [i.e. Who says that you in fact are so close to Hashem as to refer to Him as your Father?] Reb Elazar was crushed. What hurt him the most, he reckoned, was that Reb Pinchas was absolutely right! Was he really so close to Hashem? Was his whole avodah (service of G-d) no more than lip-service? He returned home dejected. His father, Reb Elimelech, noticed right away that something was amiss. He asked his son, and Reb Elazar told him what had happened, and how broken-hearted he felt. “What?!” Reb Elimelech exclaimed. “And if one does not have a Father-must he remain an orphan? The pasuk says: ‘sheal avicha– You have to borrow a Father!’ [This is a play-on-words of the passage (Devarim 32:7) which reads, “Sheal avicha veyagedcha, ask your father, and he will tell you.” The word sheal, to ask, can also mean to borrow.] Sometimes, when we feel very far away, we have to take Hashem as our Father-on loan.”
Shabbos in the Daf
The Gemara discusses a case where limbs of a chatas offering, which are meant to be eaten, became mixed up with limbs of an olah offering, which are meant to be burned on the mizbeiach. The Gemara states that for a satisfying aroma, i.e. with sacrificial intent, one cannot offer on the mizbeiach something that is supposed to be eaten, but one can offer it for the sake of firewood. This is the opinion of Rabbi Elazar who maintains that we can view the limbs of the chatas as fuel for the fire of the mizbeiach. In his opinion, one is only prohibited to place the edible part of an offering on the mizbeiach if it was placed there with sacrificial intent. We see from the Gemara the importance of intent regarding a sacrifice. We do not currently have the Bais HaMikdash and thus we are not able to offer sacrifices. Yet, in lieu of the Bais HaMikdash and sacrifices, we have Shabbos, which serves as an atonement for the Jewish People. In the Shabbos Mussaf prayers, we offer the following supplication: vies Mussaf yom HaShabbos hazeh naaseh vinakriv lefeonecho beahavah kimitzvas ritzonecho, and the Mussaf of this Shabbos day we will perform and offer to You with love according to the commandment of Your will. Besides the fact that we will be offering the sacrifices in the future, we will also be offering them with love. According to an explanation of the Tiferes Shlomo (Bereishis 2:31) we can interpret this to mean that through the infusion of holiness that we have now on Shabbos in the exile, we will merit the holiness of Shabbos in the World to Come. Thus, our intent in observing the Shabbos now predicates the reward of Shabbos that we will receive in the future.
Shabbos in Halacha
In practice, we do as follows: Regarding uncooked spices, we adhere to the stringent view that deems solid foods to be a kli rishon. Thus, one should not season any hot solid foods with uncooked spices, whether the food is in a pot (kli rishon), a platter ( kli sheini) or a plate ( kli shelishi), as long as the food is yad soledes bo. Regarding pre-cooked liquid condiments, i.e. ketchup, where the question is one of re-cooking, one can follow the lenient view that once transferred, solid foods are reduced to the status of a kli sheini. Thus, one can pour pre-cooked condiments onto dry foods in a kli sheini.
Shabbos in Numbers and Words
We commence the Friday night Kiddush with the words yom hashishi vayechulu hashamayim vihaaretz, the sixth day, thus the heavens and earth were finished. The last letters of the words yom hashishi vayechulu hashamayim equal in mispar katan, digit sum, 15, and 1+5=6, which alludes to the idea that HaShem completed all His work in six days and ushered in the Shabbos at the end of the sixth day.
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Re’eh 5767
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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