Erev Shabbos Kodesh Emor Inspiration 5776

It is said (Vayikra 23:!-3) וַיְדַבֵּר יְ-ה-ו-ָֹה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר: {ב} דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם מוֹעֲדֵי יְ-ה-ֹוָ-ה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ אֵלֶּה הֵם מוֹעֲדָי: {ג} שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ כָּל מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ שַׁבָּת הִוא לַי-ה-ֹו-ָה בְּכֹל מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם, HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel, and say to them: HaShem’s appointed festivals that you are to designate as holy convocations – these are My appointed festivals. For six days labor may be done, and the seventh day is a day of complete rest, a holy convocation, you shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath for HaShem in all your dwelling places. Rashi is bothered by the fact that the Torah juxtaposes the commandment of observing the Shabbos alongside the laws of the festivals. Rashi writes that the juxtaposition teaches us that if one desecrates the festivals , it is as if he has desecrated the Shabbos, and if one observed the festivals, then he is deemed to have observed the Shabbos This Rashi is puzzling for a few reasons. First, many mitzvos are juxtaposed and we do not say, for example, that one who observes the mitzvah of Orlah is akin to one who observes the mitzvah of not eating over the blood (Ibid 19:23-26). Furthermore, it would seem justified that Shabbos and the festivals are juxtaposed, as they are days of rest and one is required to be engaged in spiritual pursuits on these holy days? What, then, is Rashi coming to teaching us?

The simple explanation of Rashi’s words is that while Shabbos was established by HaShem to be a day of rest every seven days, the festivals were initially ordained by the Sages, as they determined when the New Moon would occur. Thus, one could possibly entertain the idea that the festivals are of a more rabbinic nature, so the Torah needed to tell us that the festivals are on par with the Shabbos. On a deeper level, however, the Gemara (Pesachim 68a ) has a discussion of how one should conduct himself on the festivals. One opinion maintain that one should either be completely engaged in spiritual pursuits or the opposite, immersing one’s self in the physical delights of the festivals. The other opinion, however, posits that one should divide his time, half to HaShem and half for his own pleasure. Shabbos, however, is a day for the soul, and one must utilize the Shabbos primarily for spiritual pursuits. The Sfas Emes writes that this is the meaning of the statement in the Gemara (Shabbos 118a) that one who delights in the Shabbos will be rewarded with a boundless heritage. The Gemara does not say that one should indulge in himself on Shabbos. Rather, one should delight in the Shabbos, i.e. for the sake of Heaven. We can therefore suggest that Rashi is teaching us that the festivals are the same way, in that one should not frivol away the entire festival in physical indulgence. Rather, one should view the festivals as one views the Shabbos, and in this manner one will ensure that the festivals are properly observed.

Have a great Shabbos, which is akin to the festivals!

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Emor 5776
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