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Ask the Rabbi...
What is Shabbos?

Shabbat (or "Shabbos" in Yiddish) is a precious gift given by Hashem to His chosen people. On shabbos, we taste Heaven here on Earth, a taste of the World to Come. Shabbos is the center of the Jewish week. We even count the days with regard to shabbos -- Sunday is called "The First Day to Shabbos", Wednesday "The Fourth Day to Shabbos."

As Jews we spend all week preparing for shabbos. If a particularly nice cut of meat is found on Tuesday, it is explicitly bought "lichvod shabbos" -- for the honor of shabbos. Perhaps an unusual bottle of wine is found on Wednesday, fresh fruits on Thursday. As the week progresses, we put aside the best of everything "lichvod shabbos." When shabbos comes, we will enjoy the fruits of all our labors.

Shabbos is not a mere day of rest nor a day off. It is a day to experience and enjoy the world as Hashem created it and gave it to us, a day when we cease our efforts to control the world around us and instead experience the world in a state of complete rest from creative work, desisting from seemingly minor and inconsequential acts as turning lights on and off.

Shabbos is a day when we bear witness to Hashem's presence in the world and to recall the many miracles He has performed for us in the past -- such as Creation and the Exodus from Egypt; it is a day when we make sure to recognize the daily miracles He continually manifests in the world around us.

Finally, shabbos is a day to enjoy family and friends, to indulge in the pleasure of praising Hashem in prayer, and to relish the sweetness study of Torah, another of His precious gifts to the Jewish people.

If you are Jewish and have never experienced shabbos, you are missing out on your own inheritance. Please contact me privately and I will make arrangements with a Torah observant family in your area to invite you to taste the World to Come.

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