Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim

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Bereishis
Rabbi Jablinowitz

We read in this week’s parsha that after six days of creation, Hashem rested on the seventh day. The Torah states (Chapter 2, Pasuk 2), Vayechal Elokim Bayom Hashevi’i, Gd completed the creation on the seventh day. The implication of this statement seems to be that there was an act of creation on the seventh day. Rashi gives two explanations as to how to understand these words. His second explanation is that after the six days of creation there was something missing in the world. That something was Menuchah, the idea of rest, and with the culmination of creation on the sixth day, the seventh day brought with it Menuchah. Ba’as Shabbos, Ba’as Menuchah.

What is the deeper meaning of this concept of Menuchah and its significance in the world?

The Sfas Emes explains that the physical world hides Gd’s presence in the world and can serve as a barrier. This is why the world is called Olam which comes from the Hebrew word He’eleim which means hidden. The Menuchah of Shabbos which results when the work stops enables us to have a better appreciation of Hashem. In fact, there is a form of prophesy or Nevu’ah which rests upon Clal Yisrael on Shabbos. As the pasuk states (Yeshayahu, Chapter 11, Pasuk 2) V’Nachah Alav Ruach Hashem, And the spirit of Hashem shall rest upon him. The Menuchah mentioned in the Rashi above is a level of Ruach Hakodesh and prophecy we reach on Shabbos which allows us to see beyond the physical and feel the presence of Hashem in the world.

This idea is also expressed in the pasuk in Yoel (Chapter 3, Pasuk 1), V’Nib’u Bneichem U’Bnoseichem, and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy. This indicates that all of Clal Yisrael are on a level of being prophets, and this prophecy is the clarity of vision achieved by all Jews on Shabbos. This is also expressed as the Neshamah Yeseirah, the additional soul experienced on Shabbos. Therefore on Shabbos we are able to properly attest to the glory of Hashem as the creator of the world which is the purpose of creation. So that the Menuchah which came about on Shabbos as result of the cessation of work, is the essential part of creation; the spiritual inspiration to be totally cognizant of Hashem as the creator of the world.

On a deeper level, the reason work is prohibited on Shabbos is because the essential nature of work is something which is carried out on something outside the person. When someone builds a chair or builds a house he is acting on something outside of himself. This is the nature of the physical world. On Shabbos, which is Me’eiyn Olam Habah, one connects inwardly towards the Ruach Hakodesh he is inspired with. He is not meant to connect with his outside physical world. And when one does melachah on Shabbos he is destroying that inner holiness he is privy to on Shabbos, and as a result the Torah states, Mechaleleha Mos Yumas. The one who violates Shabbos shall surely die. This is because he is killing and destroying the inner holiness and taste of the world to come experienced on Shabbos. This is the Menuchah of Shabbos which came about on Shabbos since it is in contradistinction to the notion of Melachah in the world. Ba’as Shabbos, Ba’as Menuchah.

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