The Importance and Significance of Keeping Shabbos
(Taken from Zera Shimshon Parshas Vayakhal “aleph” page 489)
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.
This d’var Torah is dedicated to Beracha Bas Menucha Shaina. In the merit of the learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should find her proper match soon.
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