Friday, January 4, 2008

Have a Great Shabbos

Shabbos, the Great Gift

"אמר לו הקב"ה למשה משה מתנה טובה יש לי בבית גנזי ושבת שמה..."

“The Holy One said to Moshe Rabbeinu: Moshe, I have a good gift in My treasury. Shabbos is its name…”

Once, the Kehillas Maharshah community in South Africa received a very generous donation from a wealthy man who was not a shomer Shabbos. Since their Rav had a strict policy not to use money given by such a person for fear that it would be tainted with chilul Shabbos, the gabbaim refrained from cashing the check. Meanwhile, the donor visited Israel. One of his acquaintances suggested that they go together to meet with the famous Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh. When they appeared before Rav Shach, zt”l, the acquaintance introduced the South African to the Rosh Yeshiva as a generous supporter of Torah institutions in his home country.

The wealthy man lowered his head to receive the gadol’s blessing, but Rav Shach placed his hands on the wealthy man’s head and spoke directly, and lovingly, to his visitor instead:

“My son, if you want a blessing, you should keep the Shabbos for it is the source of all blessing. Every nation has its flag, and the flag of the nation of Israel is Shabbos! The Shabbos is the symbol and the sign that we are Jewish. The Shabbos is the guarantee of the continuation of the Jewish nation forever. If we do not identify with our flag, we are in grave danger of losing our Jewish identity. Without the Shabbos, we are in serious trouble in so many ways. What guarantee do you have that your children will remain Jewish? Who will guard them from marrying out of the faith, if not the Holy Shabbos herself?”

These warm and heartfelt words penetrated to the heart of the man. They affected him so profoundly, in fact, that he immediately pronounced after leaving the presence of the Rosh Yeshiva: “From this moment on, I will be a shomer Shabbos!”

The acquaintance who had brought the wealthy man to meet Rav Shach immediately telephoned the Rav in South Africa to tell him the good news. And the gabbaim were able to deposit that vital check straight away!

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