FEBRUARY 29 - MARCH 2, 2008 24 ADAR I 5768
"But the seventh day shall be holy for you" (Shemot 35:2)
There is a very interesting aspect to the concept of Shabbat. If one thinks about it, one would realize that the holiness is dependant upon man, and where he lives. After all, we know that Shabbat becomes holy in each place at a different time. This is because time varies according to each place. In one place it is night and at that same time it is day somewhere else, all according to the earth's rotation relative to the sun. Therefore, Shabbat is sanctified in every place according to the time in that place. However, one may not ask, if so, when is it Shabbat in Heaven? Because time is not a true reality; it is only relevant to man. Heaven is not affected by, and is above, time. We, as mankind, accept Shabbat according to the time of our place. Rabbi M. Sternbuch learns this interesting idea from a seemingly superfluous word in our quoted verse from our perashah. It says, "yihyeh LAHEM kodesh - it will be holy for YOU." It is Shabbat according to where we are.
It is true that Hashem sanctifies the Shabbat, but in a certain sense we are partners in that sanctification. Even though the calendar lists Candlelighting times for Friday night, every home receives the Shabbat a split second later than the other. Where we choose to locate our home factors in when Shabbat starts. If this is so, that we are a partner in Shabbat, shouldn't we prepare our homes properly to receive this holiness? Shouldn't we be home early enough to get our homes ready? Sometimes Friday is short, like in the winter. Sometimes it is long, like in the spring and summer. But why always in a rush? It is a state of mind and an attitude. If one waits until the last minute, with the attitude that there is plenty of time, one will always be late coming home and coming to shul. Be a good partner, greet Shabbat holiness with calm and with time to spare. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"He made the washbasin of copper...from the mirrors of the legions" (Shemot 38:8)
The washbasin was made from the copper mirrors which the women donated to the Mishkan. Even though Moshe hesitated to use mirrors used to beautify women for something so sublime as the Mishkan, Hashem told him that this was very dear in His eyes. The women used to beautify themselves in order to restore the spirits of their downtrodden husbands in Egypt, and thus they were able to be fruitful and multiply. Hashem said that this is very precious to Him and should be used for the washbasin.
What connection is there between a washbasin and mirrors? Every time a kohen would do the service in the Mishkan, he had to purify himself by washing his hands and feet. When he saw the mirrors in the washbasin, he would undoubtedly look at his reflection in the mirror. This would allow him to purify his spiritual self by causing him to observe himself and remember which traits he would have to cleanse within himself. So the copper mirrors enabled the kohen not only to wash his hands and feet but also wash out any impurities of his character. This was especially important since he was about to serve the rest of the Jewish people and he might have been tempted to see negative traits in others. He was now reminded to rectify his own traits before judging others.
Whenever we leave the house we look at the mirror to see if we are presentable. We should learn this lesson and also look at our flaws in the "mirror" before going out into the world and seeing other people. This will put us in a better perspective to see only the good in others. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
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