By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And God Blessed the Seventh Day and Sanctified It
“Blessed are You Hashem Who sanctifies the Shabbat.”
Just as Hashem sanctifies the Shabbat, as mentioned in the title quote of our parsha, so too He has commanded us to sanctify the Shabbat by reciting the Kiddush. The Torah uses the term “zachor”, which can mean both “to mention” (as in “lehazkir”) and “to remember”, when commanding us to recite the Kiddush. These two meanings add considerable depth to our experience of Shabbat by expressing the importance of consciousness and speech in regard to Shabbat in addition to the well-known aspects of Shabbat that pertain to action, i.e the prohibition on the 39 labors, Rabbinic laws that pertain to rest, etc. Indeed, Hebron’s Torah-giant, Rabbi Eliyahu DiVidash explains at length in his monumental work “Reshit Hochma” how one may sanctify one’s speech and thought, in addition to action, on Shabbat. We should note that “sanctifying one’s thought” on Shabbat is pious behavior, but is not halachically required. However, halacha does mandate that some types of speech are prohibited on Shabbat, such as discussing plans to perform activities that are forbidden on Shabbat to be done after Shabbat. Rabbi Vidash’s teaching on sanctifying one’s thought, speech and action on Shabbat is brought in context of “Shaar HaKedusha” in his book “Reshit Hochma”, a section which deals with various topics that involve sanctifying oneself.
In addition to the sanctity of time in regard to Shabbat this section also discusses the sanctity of location, such as in a synagogue and bet midrash, which also brings sanctity upon a person. A synagogue is called a “mini-sanctuary” and also the Holy Land is called the “House of Hashem” in Hulin 92a. Indeed, the Holy Land sanctifies the people who live in it, as our Sages taught: “If you wish to see the countenance the Holy Presence in this world – study Torah in the Land of Israel.” Of course, Hebron is one of the ideal locations to imbue the sanctity of our Holy Land. Interestingly, just as Shabbat conveys the sanctity inherent in the number seven, called by the Maharal as the “sanctity in the earthly realm”, so too Hebron, the Holy City of our Holy Land/Earth is linked to the number seven, as “Hebron was built seven years before Zoan” and also the fact that King David began his monarchy here for his first seven years of kingship. This is Hebron – Beacon of our Holy Land, the Holy City.
Rabbi Yitzhak Libkin, resident of Hebron, suddenly became extremely wealthy and many stories have been told about his wealth. When asked how he became wealthy he told the following story: “When I was a boy, my family was preparing for Shabbat on Thursday, but we had no money, not even for bread, not to mention wine for Kiddush or meat… I was walking on the street, and suddenly I saw a precious stone called a “Megida.” With this Megida it would be possible to support an entire family for a week’s time, plentifully. However, I did not lift the stone, but rather said a prayer: “Master of the Universe, if You want to “buy” Yitzhak with one Megida, no and no. Give me ten, and one Megida I shall not take. And so I left that Megida, shining there by itself… And Hashem heard my prayer, and I became very wealthy.” (We do not necessarily encourage this type of prayer as a general principle, since arguing/”bargaining” with Hashem can be a problematic matter, but this story does express the simple faith of a boy praying/conversing with Hashem, which is an attribute that we should all emulate).
Real Stories from the Holy Land #283
“One morning I was pondering one of the 32 paths of wisdom called “the wisdom of leading unity.” I was about to send a text-message to one of the candidates in the coming elections about this concept. However, instead I got a message from this candidate saying that he decided to forfeit being a candidate in the coming elections, as an overture of of “leading unity” between different parties through self-sacrifice.” A.G
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