Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Shabbat – The Soul Of The World!
Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 12:34:32 PM
Number of views: 212

In the division of the Torah into chapters and verses, the account of Shabbat in the Creation story comes at the beginning of Chapter 2. The Abarbanel informs us, that this division of the Bible into different chapters, is NOT of Jewish origin. These chapter divisions were invented by the Medieval Christian Bible printers. We use them for convenience only.

By beginning a new chapter with the Shabbat, the significance of Shabbat as the climax and end product of Creation is undermined. Shabbat is the culmination of the entire Creation process, and the verses dealing with it at the beginning of Bereshit Chapter 2 should in reality conclude Chapter 1. Because the Shabbat “rest” was NOT something totally passive, just the absence of work. Shabbat rest was rather itself a proactive act. As Rashi says, “On the completion of the sixth day, the world still lacked rest, by making the Seventh Day a Day of Rest, G-d completed His Creation”. Thus the verse states, “He finished and completed His work on the Seventh Day” (Bereshit 2:2).

Of the Mitzvah of Shabbat the Torah says, “In six days G-d made Heaven and Earth, and on the Seventh Day He ceased from work, and was refreshed” (Shmot 31:17). The Hebrew word VAYINAFASH “He was refreshed”, is connected to the noun NEFESH which means a soul.

On the Seventh Day G-d experienced His Soul, and the function of Shabbat is to allow us to experience and appreciate our soul as well. Thus, the Talmud states that on Shabbat we receive an “additional” soul, which is an extra bonus of G-d’s Holy Presence. Therefore throughout our long and bitter exile the Jew lived from Shabbat to Shabbat. As the popular saying goes, “More than the Jew kept Shabbat, the Shabbat kept the Jew”.

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