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Pikuday: Partners in Creation

Miriam Aflalo

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“Moshe assembled the entire Bnei Yisrael and said to them, ‘These are the words that Hashem has commanded … “You may do work during the six weekdays, but Saturday must be kept holy as a Shabbos of Shabbosos to Hashem …”$$separatequotes$$’$$separatequotes$$”. (Shemos 35:1–2)

“Remember the Shabbos to keep it holy.” (Shemos 20:8) Rashi says: If you have a nice object, set it aside for Shabbos.

It’s an obligation to constantly remember Shabbos. This necessitates preparation for Shabbos. According to the amount that a person prepares himself daily to greet Shabbos, that’s how much he is able to receive the holiness of Shabbos.

Someone who views Shabbos as simply a cessation of work, and not as a day to prepare for, will never reach the essence of Shabbos. The holiness of Shabbos does not rest simply by changing your clothes. (Rav Moshe Schwab, Maarchei Lev, Shabbos 147)

Sometimes, I take a break from work. I prepare a mug of coffee and break off a square of chocolate. I settle down on the couch to read a bit and relax. A break. But just for a few minutes. Because there’s always a little voice inside me that makes the coffee and chocolate taste like guilt. A voice that says: “Don’t you have a million things to do? Get up already!”

But Shabbos. Shabbos is another world.

It’s as if I slammed the door on the grayness of the mundane, the demands and worries, the pressure and frustration. Suddenly, a door is opened to a grand hall filled with peace and light. The very air is different. It’s quieter. More serene. Somehow, the weekdays play a scratchy tune, that’s off-key and repetitive. But Shabbos is a symphony — resplendent in harmony.

Shabbos fills every room of the house with the pure light of its candles. It touches the wine that is poured into the becher and brushes the sweet, clean faces of my children, dressed in their Shabbos finery.

I wish we could stay like this forever. I want to experience this serenity and continue to hear this music always.

Our Sages teach us that Adam was created on Erev Shabbos. Why? So the heretics should not say that he was a partner with Hashem in the creation of the world.

On the other hand we find: “Whoever davens on Erev Shabbos and says the words: ‘Vayechulu hashamayim v’haaretz’ and the heavens and earth stopped, he is considered as if he is a partner in the creation of the world.” Since he’s testifying to the world’s creation, and denying those who say that there was a world before this.

So is he a partner or not? (ibid.)

Every Wednesday morning, I remember that I need to do a huge grocery shopping for Shabbos. Sigh. Why can’t we just have regular, nice, weekday meals? Relaxed, good food, but without all the pressure. Is it really necessary to stuff all those groceries into my wagon and pay so much just because Shabbos is coming?

Am I really obligated to spend such long hours by the stove, and use all my pots and pans, just for Shabbos? To clean, launder, shine, and clean again? Just because Shabbos is coming? Thursdays and Fridays are always erased from my calendar. They are simply prep days for Shabbos.

Sure, I love Shabbos. When it comes, I feel like the light of it sustains me the whole week. But do I really need all the work and preparation?

When Hashem created the world, He created the physical and the spiritual. Man’s purpose in This World is to uplift the physical to the spiritual. When a man takes a fruit and makes a blessing, he sanctifies his action to a level of spirituality. From where does man get such power? From Shabbos.

Shabbos brings holiness to the six days of creation. One who keeps Shabbos is bestowing blessing on the other six days of the week. Because he his testifying to the knowledge that Hashem created the world in those six days. Such a person is like a partner to Hashem. (ibid.)

Partners. Taking the regular day and filling it with sparks of Shabbos. Every moment of preparation, every item bought, every shirt ironed, every floor shined. They are all for the honor of Shabbos.

Partners. To bring into a physical home, thousands of moments of spiritual preparation. This is to be a partner in the creation of the world.

Such a man fulfills the purpose of the creation. Hashem created the physical from the spiritual, and we return the physical to the spiritual. To the holiness of Shabbos. (ibid.)

The light of Shabbos is ignited through my preparations. The glow comes from my exertion when shining the floor and starching the tablecloth.

Come, let’s greet the Shabbos. Because we have become partners.

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