לֹא תְבַעֲרוּ אֵשׁ בְּכֹל משְׁבֹתֵיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת:(שמות לה/ג)
The Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos 2/22) writes, “A person who is traveling in the desert and does not know which day is the Shabbos he should count six days and consider the seventh day as holy. He should recite Kiddush and recite Havdalah at the conclusion of this day of “Shabbos“. Every day, even on the day on which he recites Kiddush and after which he recites Havdalah, he is allowed to earn only enough for his livelihood, so that he will not die…”
In other words the Rambam teaches us three halachos for someone who is lost in the desert and doesn’t know the day of the week.
Firstly, on no day that he is in the desert can he do more melachos (work) than he needs to survive.
Secondly, he counts six days and on the next day he makes kiddush and havdalah as if was Shabbos.
And thirdly, even on that day that he designated to be Shabbos he is also allowed to do all of the melachos that he needs to survive.
Zera Shimshon writes that there is an allusion to this halacha in our parsha.
It is written in our parsha (Shemos 35/3), “You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwelling places on Shabbos.” Seemingly the phrase “in any of your dwelling places” is extra? One must keep Shabbos wherever he is.
Zera Shimshon explains that this phrase alludes to the above halacha. Only in your dwelling places one shouldn’t kindle a fire. However if one is in the desert, and doesn’t know what day of the week it is, he is allowed to kindle a fire even on the day that he designated to be Shabbos!
Zera Shimshon points out another allusion to this halacha in the Ten Commandments.
It is written there, “(9) Six days may you work and perform all your labor. (10) But the seventh day is Shabbos to Hashem, your L.rd ; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter…”. Zera Shimshon says that possuk 10 is not a halacha independent of possuk 9 but it is continuation of it. Meaning, in a situation when, “Six days may you work and perform all your labor. then “…the seventh day is Shabbos to Hashem, your L.rd ; you shall perform no labor”.
However when six days you may NOT work and perform ALL of you labor (for instance, you are in the desert etc.) then there is no prohibition to perform no labor.
(א) וַיַּקְהֵל משֶׁה אֶת כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְדֹוָד לַעֲשׂת אֹתָם: (ב) שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן לַידֹוָד כָּל הָעֹשֶׂה בוֹ מְלָאכָה יוּמָת: (ג) לֹא תְבַעֲרוּ אֵשׁ בְּכֹל משְׁבֹתֵיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת: (ד) וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְדֹוָד לֵאמֹר: (ה) קְחוּ מֵאִתְּכֶם תְּרוּמָה לַידֹוָד כֹּל נְדִיב לִבּוֹ יְבִיאֶהָ אֵת תְּרוּמַת יְדֹוָד זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וּנְחשֶׁת: (שמות לה/א-ה)
“Six days you should work and the seventh day will be holy, a complete rest-day for the sake of Hashem. Whoever does work will be killed (by Bais Din). And Moshe told to the whole community of Bnei Yisroel….Take from them donations (for the mishkan) (Shemos 35/1-5)
Rashi explains that the reason that the Torah wrote the mitzvah of Shabbos immediately before discussing the mitzvah of collecting for and the building of the mishkan is to teach us that we have to keep Shabbos and not do any melachos even when we build the Mishkan. In other words.
Zera Shimshon asks why would think that the mitzvah of building the Mishkan overrides the mitzvah of Shabbos that the Torah wrote the mitzvah of Shabbos out of place to teach us that this is not the case?
He begins his answer by establishing that Rashi cannot be understood literally. The possuk is definitely NOT needed to teach us that the building of the Mishkan itself does not override Shabbos. A mitzvah overrides another mitzvah only when we cannot observe both of them. However, if it is possible to do one mitzvah without transgressing another one we must keep both of them.
Therefore, since we finished building all the parts of the Mishkan on the 25th of Kislev (the date of Chanukah) and it wasn’t erected until Rosh Chodesh Nisan there was no reason to hasten its building, and therefore there is no reason to think that we desecrate Shabbos to build it.
Rather, contends Zera Shimshon, Rashi is referring to a situation that the mishkan or mizbayach broke and therefore we are unable to bring the sacrifices of Shabbos (for instance, the korbon tamid and the korbon mussaf). In such a situation we could erroneously think hat just like bringing the special korbonos of Shabbos overrides the mitzvos of Shabbos (for instance it is permitted to shect the korbon) so to all preliminary preparations, such as fixing the mishkan or mizbayach are also permitted.
The Torah therefore positioned the mitzvah of Shabbos immediately before the mitzvah of the Mishkan to teach us that although the korbonos of Shabbos take precedence over Shabbos the fixing of the Mishkan or any part of it even does not, even if leaving it broken will prevent us from bringing the korbonos.
וַיַּקְהֵל משֶׁה אֶת כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְדֹוָד לַעֲשׂת אֹתָם: שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן לַידֹוָד כָּל הָעֹשֶׂה בוֹ מְלָאכָה יוּמָת:(שמות לה/א-ב)
And Moshe gathered the whole assembly of Bnei Yisroel and said to them these are the words that Hashem commanded you to do. Six days you should work and the seventh day will be holy, a complete rest-day for the sake of Hashem. Whoever does work will killed (by Bais Din). ( Shemos 35/1-2)
Rashi explains that Moshe gathered Bnei Yisroel the day right after he came down from Har Sinai.
The Meforshim ask why were the laws of Shabbos the first mitzvo that Moshe taught Bnei Yisroal and not some other mitzvo? Seemingly he should have immediately taught them the mitzvo to build the Mishkan since it was on that day that he started to take contributions to build it.
Zera Shimshon begins his answer by quoting four Gemorros that show us the importance and significance of keeping Shabbos.1)Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav, “If Yisroel would have kept the first Shabbos no nation would have been able to rule over them.” (Shabbos 118/B)
2) Rebbi Chiya bar Aba said in the name of Rebbi Yochanan, “Whoever observes Shabbos properly, even if he worships idols like they did in the generation of Enosh, Hashem will forgive him” (ibid).
3) Rebbi Yochanan said in the name of Rebbi Shimon ben Yochai, “If Yisroel would keep two Shabossos properly, they would immediately be redeemed.” (ibid)
4) If Bnei Yisroel didn’t worship the Golden Calf no nation could rule over them. (Avodah Zora 5A)
In light of these four Gemorros, Zera Shimshon explains that after Bnei Yisroel sinned by worshiping the Golden Calf, Moshe put in tremendous effort to davven that Hashem will forgive them.
Therefore the first thing that he told Bnei Yisroel when he came down from the mountain was that if they would have kept Shabbos properly all of this would have been avoided. This is in light of the Gemorro, quoted above, that the proper observance of Shabbos atones even for the avairo of Avodah Zorro.
Another reason that he immediately taught them the halachos of Shabbos is that to observe Shabbos properly is even more effective than Moshe’s prayers!
Rashi in last week’s parsha writes that Moshe’s prayers didn’t bring about full atonement. Even today, a part of our suffering under the nations of the world is in order to completely cleanse us from the avairo of the Golden Calf.
On the other hand, to properly observe Shabbos saves us completely from other nations!
Zera Shimson concludes and explains why he taught the importance of keeping Shabbos before the commandment of building he Mishkan is because the Mishkan is collateral and security that we will keep the mitzvos.
If we don’t keep the Mitzvos like we should then Hashem takes it away from us (mashkon” in Hebrew means collateral.)
Therefore, Moshe taught the people that in order that their work to build the Mishkan will last forever, they should observe Shabbos properly to bring the final geulo.
HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.
The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about “practical kabbolo“ but asked that all of his sefarim be buried after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.
He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name “Zera Shimshon“) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies “... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things… and wealth and honor……”
These d’vrai Torah are dedicated to Esther Yenta Bas Chana Chassia. In the merit of the learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should quickly find her proper match along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel who are also looking for their zivug hagun.
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