Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spirit of the Law: Shabbos 72:7

Spirit of the Law: Shabbos #7
(Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:7) “One should prepare in honor of Shabbos high quality meat and fish, delicacies, as well as fine wines. It is a mitzvah to eat fish at every meal on Shabbos, but only if one enjoys eating fish. If one does not enjoy eating fish or eating it is harmful for him, he is required to do so. Shabbos was given for pleasure and not for pain…”
The Chida, zt”l, writes that one should have special intentions when eating the fish and chicken or meat of one’s meal. While eating these three dishes during the week one can merely be demonstrating the fact that one is enslaved by one’s passion for food. This is why in the Hebrew the first letter of these three foods spell slave—עוף בשר דג. However on Shabbos whatever we eat we are Hashem’s slaves. So Basar is the numerical value of 502 which is the exact value of the combined lives of all our forefathers Avraham Yitschak and Yaacov in whose merit we eat the Shabbos meals. Oaff, has the numerical of 156 which is the numerical value of Yosef. Yosef represents the sefira of Yesod. Dag is the numerical value of 7 which can mean the seventh sefira of Malchus. In this manner every time we partake of the Shabbos delicacies we are concentrating on the Holiness of Shabbos.
The Chida would often say during his Shabbos meal “In honor of the Shabbos Queen!”
“For pleasure and not for pain…”
Rav Levi Yitschak of Barditchev, zt”l, explained “The best way to be absolutely sure that you never transgress the holy Shabbos is to tie yourself up in a chair for the whole duration of Shabbos! The only trouble is that since Shabbos was given specifically for pleasure and not pain, this would be the ultimate violation of Shabbos! We have to do the best we can and be certain that we not violate this very important halacha. We must enjoy the Shabbos!”
Rav Nosson discusses at great length the concept which is first brought in the Ramban in Eyov that one who focuses on what’s worrying them draws the problem on themselves while one who focuses on the good and kindnesses in one’s life draws this into their life. This is because the mind is very powerful indeed. We must learn to harness our thoughts and think good positive thoughts. We must not dwell on the difficulties in our lives. “Dieya tsara bishaata,” it is enough to deal with our difficulties when they crop up. We need not relive them needlessly. Sometimes we must get something out of our system by discussing it or reliving it. The only question is: where does the healing of this confiding end and damaging non wholesome focusing on bad begin? This is a question which everyone must decide for themselves. In general we must try with all our might to focus on what’s good and holy in a positive way. We should live with joy and vitality. Let’s start again right now! This very instant we can connect to the Creator by wanting Him and calling out to Him! “Hashem is close to all who call out to Him in truth!”


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post, I greatly enjoy reading your blog.
I don't follow the continuation from the first part to the piece from Rav Nosson.

Micha Golshevsky said...

B'simcha rabbah! I am very glad to hear that.
Rav Nosson is an explanation why we must be vigilant always, and most especially on Shabbos, not to spend time focusing on what pains us, even if it is true.
As we have already discussed, contemplation of the negative is only appropriate during hisbodedus if doing so does not sour one's joy the rest of the day.
This may be one meaning of imbuing the rest of the week with the spirit of Shabbos.