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"Time Is On My Side"

02/28/2019 01:42:47 PM


Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham, CDR, CHC, USN (ret)

A large financial institution in England was on the verge of collapse.  In order to save itself, the leadership drafted a proposal offering the company for sale to a wealthy man for the price of 2.5 million pounds sterling (@ $4.2 million).  Although the price was considerably lower than the true value of the company, the offer was not a great bargain.  The offer was conferred to the wealthy man via a telegram sent on Friday night.  Because he was Shomer Shabbos, he provided no answer.  The next morning, a new proposal was sent offering the reduced price of 2.2 million pounds sterling.  Because it was still Shabbat, this telegram, like the first, was ignored.  In sheer desperation the leadership of the company made a third offer with the price reduced to 1.7 million pounds sterling.  On Motzaei Shabbat, Baron Rothschild viewed all three telegrams eventually responding to the final offer.  It was this institution that gave him his greatest wealth.

This week's parashah, Parshat VaYakheil, tells of how Moshe gathered together the entire nation of B'nei Yisrael in order to give them the instructions regarding the building of the Mishkan (the Wilderness Tabernacle).  Of the 122 verses found in this parashah, only two are not about the Mishkan: "For a six-day period, work may be done; but on the seventh day, there shall be for you holiness, a Shabbat of rest for HaShem; whoever does work on it shall be executed.  You shall not kindle a fire in all your dwelling places on the day of Shabbat." (Shemot/Exodus 35:2-3)  The obvious question here is why are these two verses found in this parashah that has to do with the construction of the Mishkan?  The simple answer is that Shabbat and the Mishkan serve the same purpose: to elevate B'nei Yisrael out of their physical existence in order to instill holiness within their souls.

Shabbat is holiness in time.  Shabbat is a period of time unlike that of any of the other days of the week.  For a 25-hour period, we are to stop all creative work.  If done properly, one can actually feel Shabbat as if one is touching it.  Once each week we can experience 1/60 of the Olam HaBah (the World-to-Come).  The Mishkan was holiness within a physical space.  Any time a member of B'nei Yisrael felt a diminishing of his/her spirituality, s/he could merely enter the Mishkan and be immediately uplifted.  It is important to note that Shabbat came first, and this fact has sustained the B'nei Yisrael for over 3,000 years.  The Mishkan was eventually replaced by the two Temples, and both of them also disappeared.  But we have always had and will always have Shabbat.  We have always had and will always have that "touchable" holiness given to us as a gift from HaShem.  On this "Shabbat across America weekend, I wish you "Shabbat Shalom!"



Sun, September 15 2019 15 Elul 5779