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Shabbat of Life



“Those who taste Shabbat merit life.” (Shabbat Mussaf Amidah) The Torah speaks of every Mitzvah as being life-giving, “And you will live through them.” (Leviticus 18:5) What is different about the life we receive from tasting Shabbat?

It’s also interesting that this life comes through tasting, as the first tasting in the Bible, that of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, brought death.

“And David blessed God before the eyes of all of entire congregation, and David said, ‘Blessed are You God, the Lord of Israel our father, from this world and forever. Your’s God is the greatness, the might, the beauty, the eternality, the glory, for all that is in the heavens and the earth. Your’s God, is the Kingdom.” The Talmud explains that this list of praises describes God from creation until the end of days. “Greatness,” refers to creation. “Might” refers to the slaying of the First Born and the Splitting of the Sea. “Beauty” refers to the giving of the Torah. (Berachot 58a)

When King Solomon describes the construction of the heavens and earth, he says, “God by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the depths were broken up.” (Proverbs 3:19-20) Solomon’s praises, “wisdom, understanding, and knowledge,” are not included in his father’s list.

It is even more interesting to note that the laws of Shabbat are derived from the Mishkan, a reflection of the Creation, (Aderet Eliyahu, Terumah) and the Mishkan was constructed by Betzalel, who was filled with, “wisdom, understanding and knowledge.” Betzalel was granted the qualities described by King Solomon, and not those described by King David!

The seven qualities listed by David speak of the creation of the physical world. The three qualities listed by Solomon speak of the eternal world, the world of Shabbat.

The Talmud teaches that attachment is formed through mutual pleasure. (Sanhedrin 58b) When we take pleasure from Shabbat, when we taste her, we attach to God, to His higher qualities, those listed by Solomon, the qualities of eternal life.

Shabbat offers us a connection with Eternal life that transforms the life-giving force of other Mitzvot, into more than living in this world with passion and meaning. Shabbat “tasters,” those who can experience the ability to live a life of the World to Come even while on this world, are able to derive a sense of the eternal from all Mitzvot; to repair the damage of the Tree of Knowledge.

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