Oneg Ki Sisa

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    OnegShabbosNorth West London's Weekly Torah and Opinion Sheets

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    27th February 2016 " Yacov Meisner from Beis Mordechai, Manchester


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    In this weeks Parsha we are doubly enjoined to observe Shabbos: You shall observe the Shabbos (Shemos 31:14) and again: Bnei Yisrael shall observe the Shabbos (31:16). The Ohr HaChaim notices the seeming superfluous nature of the second command and offers more than a dozen possible explanations. One understanding is that the first is referring to observance of Shabbos

    adherence to its rules and acceptance of its regulations, typically is known as Shemiras Shabbos. The second however refers to its less appreciated aspect

    Oneg Shabbos, the pleasure of Shabbos as Yeshaya HaNavi instructs us: You shall declare your Shabbos a delight (Yeshaya 58:13, see Rambam Shabbos 30:1,7 on zachor veshamor).

    Let us explore how we might succeed in experiencing the delight that is Shabbos.

    Chazal record a conversation during which Hakadosh Baruch Hu informs Klal Yisrael that He has a special place awaiting those who observe His Torah called Olam Habah, the World to Come, whereupon

    they ask for a sample in this world and are told: youll have a taste of Olam Habah in this world, its called Shabbos (Osiyos dRabi Akiva, 4; see Gemara Shabbos 57a). Shabbos is thus dubbed meein olom habah, a sample of the pleasure of the World to Come. Furthermore, Chazal refer to Olam Habah as a day that is completely Shabbos (Gemara Rosh Hashana 31a), an idea encapsulated in our Shabbos bensching.

    We can better understand the relationship between Shabbos and the contentment of Olam Habah when we consider the fact that Shabbos is the pinnacle of creation; in the words of our davening: tachlis shamayim vaaretz, the ultimate goal of heaven and earth. As is well documented by the Ramchal (Derech Hashem, Daas Tevunos 2) the entire purpose of Creation is the fulfilment of Hashems desire to bestow goodness and joy upon His creations: mechok hatov leheitiv, it is the rule of the good to bestow goodness. As he quotes further the be all and end all of existence is that we delight ourselves with Hashem and benefit from the glory of His presence (Mesillas Yesharim). And while we are not encouraged to make that the focus of our avodah, nevertheless it is true to say that this concept is our very raison dtre. It therefore follows that if the tachlis of creation is Shabbos then the tachlis of Shabbos is to revel in Hashems goodness.

    And it extends further: not only is oneg an essential part of Shabbos, it is the vehicle with which to achieve the ultimate oneg. In other words, it is not just that the delight of Shabbos is a sampling of Olam Habah, rather it is the means by which one attains it. As the Gemara says: Kol hameaneg es hashabbos zocheh lenachalah bli metzarim anyone who basks in

    Shabbos will eventually merit Olom Haboh (lit. a portion without borders). This is more than poetic; it is a directive: the only route to eternal bliss is through experiencing Shabbos with deep pleasure. This is indeed alluded to in the aforementioned pasuk in Yeshaya: you shall declare Shabbos a delight [only] then will you delight over Hashem

    In practical terms this means that Shabbos provides respite from the hustle and bustle of the week not to simply while away the time but to stop and appreciate Hashems majestic world and take real pleasure from doing so. This appreciation is the foundation of the Universe (see R Dessler, kuntres Hachessed 13); truly tachlis shomayim vooretz. On the contrary, as the Shelah HaKodosh warned, self-indulgence is not the purpose of on Shabbos; rather we are charged with being meaneg es haShabbos, literally

    delighting the Shabbos, not ourselves!

    This is a vital ingredient in the Shabbos experience that we ignore at our peril. A dry, unenthused Shabbos observance, while certainly laudable, nevertheless does not guarantee a rich and rewarding experience in the Shabbos of our future. As our Shabbos days start to lengthen with the onset of spring, we must not will the clock on to reach havdala faster but rather find ways to cherish every moment of this gift in time. Perhaps we ought to go beyond the greeting Good Shabbos and rather wish each other Delightful Shabbos! A treasured Shabbos is a treasured existence. Kol hamisangim boh, yizku lerov simcha.

    There is a famous Rugby competition in which you could have mistakenly thought that its title comes from 2 references in pesukim from this weeks parshah However if you were to look in Rashi both times Rashi will put you right and tell you that it should be plus 1. However in a previous sedrah in sefer shemos you could be excused for making exactly the same mistake however on both occasions Rashi does not put you right. What am I talking about and which is the other sedrah?Any comments can be directed to Answer on back page. BY BORUCH


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    Rabbi Yanky HeimanThe Jerusalem Kollel, headed by Harav Yitzchak Berkovits


    Tablets inscribed on both of their sides, from this (side) and this one they were inscribed (Shemos 32:15).

    Not only once, but twice the Torah tells us that the luchos were engraved from both sides, why is this significant?

    We see reference to this passuk in the Gemara (Megilla), on the verse in Megillas Esther, . Esther asked Mordechai; what is going on, what have the Jewish people done that they deserve to be completely wiped out, men, women and children, where have they sinned? The Gemara says Esther was referring to the Torah which is described as being and was asking whether they have transgressed the Torah. We need to understand, why did she reference to this particular aspect of the luchos, it appears to be most peculiar?

    Lets first understand, why were the Jewish nation punished? What was their sin that they deserved complete annihilation? The Midrash tells us the reason they were punished was because they didnt listen to Mordechai and participated in Achashveroshs party. Incidentally the Medrash (Medrash Shir HaShirim) also adds that by eating at the party they transgressed the issur of bishul akum, eating food cooked by a non-Jew.

    The obvious question is that this sounds a bit extreme, were the Yidden to be punished with complete annihilation, for eating non Kosher food? This is especially intriguing since the Midrash is discussing the issur of bishul akum, which is an issur derabanan?

    Furthermore, it sounds like they transgressed bishul akum at Achashveroshs party, whereas in their own homes they were strict about not eating non-Kosher food and food cooked by a non-Jew, so why did they participate in Achashveroshs party, why did they lower their standards and go and eat by a non-Jew?

    Reb Yisroel Salanter explains that the Yiddens mistake was that they thought that the Torah does not apply at all times. Erroneously, Klal Yisrael believed that keeping Torah law was only applicable when in their indigenous land and not under oppression. They thought that since they were in exile under the dominion of a non-Jewish ruler the Torah wasnt fully applicable.

    They felt it was permitted to make light of and do away with some of the rabbinical restrictions that were instituted to separate them from the non-Jews.

    They were worried that if all the non-Jews would go to the feast and only the yidden didnt go, Achashverosh would become enraged and accuse them of rebelling against him and enact harsh decrees. Therefore they permitted themselves to partake in the feast in order to please Achashverosh even though at home they would never have dreamed of eating bishul akum.

    The luchos were not engraved on both sides as one would imagine, the writing penetrated through the entire luchos, from one side to the other. This was to symbolise that unlike ink which fades with time, and unlike simple engraving which wears down with time, the Torah is to last forever.

    The middle of the letters mem and samech on the luchos were suspended in the air by miracle, even though under the laws of gravity they would be expected to fall, allude to the fact that the Torah has to be