Vol 11.23 - Pekudei 2 Spanish French Audio Video
The Israelites shall observe the Sabbath: An alternative meaning of the word for "observe" in this verse is "protect." It will be explained later26 that refraining from work on the Sabbath enables us to attune ourselves to G-d's "resting" mentality and thereby ascend to a higher order of living. In the idiom of our sages, every Jew is granted an "extra soul" on the Sabbath.27 However, being exceptionally gifted entails exceptional responsibility. Our heightened spiritual level on the Sabbath renders any offense to this spirituality more serious than it would be during the week. Therefore, on the Sabbath we must be more conscientious in our observance of the commandments; we must "protect" our heightened Sabbath consciousness.28
The Israelites shall observe the Sabbath, establishing the Sabbath: Again, an alternative meaning of the word for "observe" in this verse is "protect." In addition, an alternate meaning of the word for "establishing" is "making." Thus, this phraseology implies that there are two dimensions of the Sabbath: one that we are intended to "protect" and another that we are intended to "make."
The Sabbath is intrinsically holy, inasmuch as G-d sanctified it when He created the world.29 Our task with respect to this intrinsic holiness is simply to "protect" it, that is, be careful not to counteract or sabotage it. This we do by not performing forbidden types of work, and, more subtly, according our demeanor to the holy character of the day.
Beyond this, however, we can also infuse additional holiness into the Sabbath, over and above its own, intrinsic holiness. We do this by pursuing holiness, either through Torah study, prayer, or acts of kindness. In this way, we also "make" the Sabbath holier than it is in and of itself.30
18 When G-d finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two Tablets of the Testimony: G-d finished teaching Moses and gave him the tablets on the fortieth day of his stay on the mountain.
But, as we will soon see, the people had already made the Golden Calf on the thirty-ninth day! In other words, even after the people committed this most heinous sin, G-d continued to teach Moses the Torah and gave him the tablets in order that he transmit them to the people.
The lesson for us here is that we must always relate to people in their best light, inviting and encouraging them to learn the Torah and fulfill its commandments even if they do not seem presently fit for this.31
|Date Modified:||Date Reviewed:|