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Torah Tidbits with Rabbi Sharly Digadker

What is Holiness

The Hebrew root "KadDash" in our sources indicates separation and distinction. We perform kiddush on Friday night, in order to separate the Sabbath from the days of the week. Kiddushin-marriage is called this because the married couple enters together in the act of marriage to a unique status, different from any other person in the world

At the beginning of the parashah, Moshe recites the Israelites and says to them,

"Six days you shall do the work, and on the seventh day you shall have the sanctity of the Sabbath that you shall return to God ... You shall not provoke fire in all your captivity on the Sabbath day." (Exodus 33: 2-3)

Immediately afterwards, the Torah describes the tasks required to establish the Mishkan - the holiest place in Judaism. Why does the Torah place such close proximity to the construction of the Mishkan and the commandment to observe the Sabbath?

Because the Sabbath and the Mikdash are "two who are one". Both are connected to the spiritual dimension. During the 2000 years of exile from the Land of Israel, which came after the destruction of the Temple, the Sabbath was the return of a special Temple, a temple of time - the place to rehabilitate and refresh our perspective and proportions in a world that is often hostile to the values of the Torah. As they say, "More than the people of Israel kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath kept the people of Israel."

The Torah deliberately chooses the task of "burning fire" as its only example of the forbidden work on the Sabbath. This is because it exhausts the difference, the flaming energies too which the Sabbath sets a limit. Instead of forcing ourselves on the world, we live with it in harmony. We do not drive a car, we do not work in the farm, we do not even pick a small stalk of grass.

On Shabbat, we are all sons of kings. We take advantage of the extra spirituality of Shabbat to focus on our spiritual goals, which we express in prayer, Torah study, festive meals, and time devoted to family and friends. This is why the passage is called "Vayakhel", from the language of assembly and association. For one day, every week, there is no competition. There is only harmony and flow.

Rabbi Sharly Digadker
Judaic Studies Teacher

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