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Shabbat Prayers: Keter ha-Shabbat: No Fire

The 13th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Betzalel Margulies (1821), author of Kesser Shabbos [Adar II]. At the seventh hour on Friday the first man entered the Garden of Eden, and the ministering angels were praising before him, and dancing before him, and escorting him into the Garden of Eden; and that twilight at the eve of Shabbat, he was striven forth and he went out. The ministering angels were crying aloud concerning him, saying to him: “man in glory does not carry overnight, when he is like the beasts that passed away (Psalms 49:12).”


“Like a beast that passes away,” is not written here, but, “like the beasts that pass away,” so were they both.

Shabbat day arrived and became an advocate for the first man, and it spoke before God: Sovereign of all worlds! No murderer has been slain in the world during the six days of creation, and will you commence to do this with me? Is this its sanctity, and is this its blessing? As it is said, “and the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified (Genesis 2:3).” By the merit of Shabbat Adam was saved from the judgment of Gehenna. When Adam perceive the power of the Shabbat, he said: it was not for nothing that God blessed and sanctified the Shabbat. He began to observe the Shabbat and two seemed a Psalm for the Sabbath day, and he said: “a song, a song for the Sabbath day (Psalms 92:1).”

This is also why the Torah specifies only one of the Shabbat laws: that the Jewish court shall not execute by fire on the Sabbath. For this is the day when all fires, even that in Gehenna, are still.

This then is the blessing and the holiness of Shabbat: the blessing is of Shabbat advocating for us, and the sanctity is that there is no fire, anywhere.

Many people struggle with the imperfection of their Shabbat observance, and they worry that they will be punished for their lackeys. However the blessing of Shabbat is that it will advocate even for the sinner, as it did for Adam. Only when we recognize this aspect of the blessing of Shabbat, will we fully appreciate the absence of fire: the removal of any threat of punishment from those who use the Shabbat properly.

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