The two aspects of Shabbat

Thursday, 26 August, 2021 - 1:19 pm

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We discussed in a previous text (When G-d said two words simultaneously) the two words that G-d used when He gave the commandment of Shabbat: Zachor (remember) and Shamor (respect).

There is something deeper in these words. Each one refers to another aspect of keeping the Shabbat. The word Zachor (remember) refers to the positive actions related to Shabbat and the word Shamor (respect) refers to the negative actions we need to refrain from on Shabbat.

Zachor – the positive: On Shabbat, we should use our time for more spiritual endeavors, i.e. to connect with G-d. Study a little bit more Torah (there is no need for the Internet, there are books, or you can print reading material before Shabbat) and recite the Shabbat prayers, which are different from the everyday prayers.

Shamor – the negative: Our Prophets explain that on Shabbat we should not “perform your affairs on My holy day, […] by not pursuing your affairs and speaking words” (Isaiah 58:13). In other words, on Shabbat, our occupations and discussions need to be different from the other days of the week. This means that we should not discuss our everyday tasks, review the past week, or plan the next. We should not discuss business, errands, or payments, we should not even discuss preparations for an upcoming vacation. This, far from limiting us, allows us to free our minds and our time and spend it on spiritual matters.

Let us try to make this Shabbat different from the rest of the week, by spending time in prayer or study, or by avoiding (at least a bit) our everyday material discussions.

Shabbat Shalom,

Arie from the Yeshiva

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