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The Ultimate Sign

By: Rabbi Yitzchak Lerner

We are introduced to a new word in this week’s Parsha – “Shabbat“. When we look in Sefer Bereishit, we see in the story of creation that the last day is called: “The seventh day “.  We see that G-d rested – v’yishbot, but there it is used as a verb not a noun. The name of the day is the “seventh day“. Yet, from our parsha forward, we see the seventh day being referred to as Shabbat. Two questions come to mind. First, why is the seventh day now referred to as Shabbat?  Second, what is the difference in meaning between Shabbat and The seventh day?

The Slonimer Rebbi, in his classic work Netivot Shalom addresses both questions.  He first deals with the concept of Belief in G-d. He says that there are two parts of Emunat Hashem. The first is believing that G-d created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.  This is what we see in Bereishit as “the seventh day” and what we say in the Friday night Kiddiush.

The second part of Emunah is the special relationship that we the Jewish people have with the creator of the world. This is referred to as ‘Shabbat’. Interestingly enough we see it for the first time only after we cross the Sea and really become a nation. It’s only at this point that the Torah refer to the seventh day as Shabbat. This day, as we say in Kiddush at lunch on Shabbat is a day between “myself and the Jewish people”.  It is the ultimate sign between us and G-d.

The fact that G-d created the world and is involved with that world, is something for all of human kind to know – hence the Seventh day.  But the special relationship between us and G-d i.e. keeping Shabbat, shmirat haShabbat, that is reserved only for us and only after we become a nation.

In summary, there are two parts to Emuna. One is the belief that G-d created the world in six days and rested on the seventh as stated in Bereishit. The other is our special relationship with G-d as Jews. This we see only after we became a nation. 

Shabbat Shalom!





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