A Healing Message for Shabbos

Dear Friends,
Hazon participant, Chana Besser, lives in Tsfas, a city in the north of Israel that has been under attack. She has been reporting on life in Tsfas during this dangerous and difficult period, including the way the residents of Tsfas are observing and celebrating Shabbos - even in the bomb shelters. It is moving to learn about how our brothers and sisters are celebrating Shabbos with prayers, songs, and even dancing, when they have to endure very difficult conditions. As Chana reminds us, Shabbos gives our people strength and hope. (Chana's articles on Shabbos in Tsfas are appearing in the English Hamodia.)
Shabbos reminds us that even the difficult challenges during the"night" of exile have a purpose; thus, we are to have faith in the One Who will bring the "morning" - the light of the redemption. In this spirit, we chant on Shabbos evening and morning the following words from Psalm 92:
 "A psalm, a song for the Shabbos day. It is good to thank the Compassionate One and to sing praise to Your Name, O Exalted One; to relate your lovingkindness in the morning and your faith in the nights." (Verses 1-3)
On Shabbos, a day of thanksgiving to the Creator, we are to focus on the good in all creation - including the good in other people and ourselves; thus, we are forbidden to engage in conversation which causes ourselves or others to feel unhappy. For example, we do not give eulogies on Shabbos, nor do we engage in the confession of our sins. It is therefore not in the spirit of Shabbos to complain about anything or anyone.
This higher conciousness is to affect all our activities on Shabbos, even the way we eat. For example, you are about to eat a fruit on Shabbos, and you notice that part of the fruit has spoiled. According to halacha - the detailed requirements of the Torah path - you must focus on the good part of the fruit, and with this consciousness, you can remove the good part and eat it. It is forbidden, however, to focus on the bad part of the fruit, and with this consciousness, remove the bad part. On Shabbos, we do not focus on the bad, and it is therefore forbidden to remove the bad from the good. For on Shabbos, our souls are singing a song of thanksgiving for the good in all creation, and this song enables us to feel at one with all creation. The slightest amount of complaining - even in our thoughts - can cause us to sing "off-key." The song of Shabbos is a beautiful song that leads to unity, and we should strive to sing each note of this song in a pleasant and pleasing manner.
May we be blessed with a healing and strengthening Shabbos,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen   (See below)
P.S. While some of our brothers and sisters in the most dangerous areas have stayed in their homes, others have temporarily moved to relatively safer areas, thanks to the loving hospitality of many people who have taken individuals and entire families into their homes. In addition, a Torah-committed organization called "Eizer M'Tzion" has rented out apartments for those who need them. There is a greater sense of unity in our land, and many people are increasing their acts of tzedekah (helping the needy) and acts of chesed (lovingkindness.) May this increased unity and love lead to a greater spiritual renewal which will cause us to experience the final redemption of Israel and the world - the age of universal enlightenment and shalom:
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and they will no longer study warfare” (Isaiah 2:4)


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