Tuesday, August 05, 2008

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The Seven Days of Shabbos

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Each day during the morning prayers, we recite the psalm of the day. This is the same psalm that was recited in the Temple days by the Levi’im who were the Temple singers. We remember this on Sunday by saying, “Today is the first day of the week, on which the Levi’im in the Temple used to say: …” and then we recite that particular psalm. On Monday before we say that day’s psalm we say, “Today is the second day of the week . . .” For each day we use this formula.

For some reason, instead of using the common word for “week,” which is “shavua,” the prayer book uses the word “Shabbos,” which is a figurative usage. So we read that “Today is the first day of Shabbos” and tomorrow is the “second day of Shabbos,” and so on. There must be some reason the compilers of the prayer book used the figurative word for week instead of the literal, common word.

We can learn from this unusual usage that we should consider every day of the week as Shabbos. When we do things to prepare for a mitzvah, those preparations are also part of the mitzvah. Buying food for Shabbos during the week is certainly part of the mitzvah of preparing for Shabbos, and even of having Shabbos guests. Obviously, without the food, the mitzvah of feeding them would not happen. The same is true for all mitzvahs.

But the trick of making every day Shabbos (at least figuratively) has two ingredients. First, do something every day to prepare. So, one day you shop, another day you clean, a third day you cook, and so on.

But even more importantly, you should realize that cooking the food is really no different than serving the food. You can have as much fun preparing for those hungry guests as you do when you actually serve them. After all, without cooking there is no serving. Washing the floor for Shabbos should be as holy an experience for you as watching your guests smile when they walk into a clean, prepared dining room. Our forefather Abraham ran to serve his guests.[i] He loved what he was doing, and his love for the preparations of the mitzvah added to the holiness of his life.

This is one of those solutions that only gives and takes nothing from you. You still have to do the floors whether you think of Shabbos when you do them or not. So you might as well have the holiness of Shabbos in mind when you do them. After all, that is why you are washing them. This way you can enjoy the holy Shabbos experience of washing the floors even though you are doing them on one of the weekdays of Shabbos.

[i] Genesis 18:2

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1 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is standard usage in the Mishnah:

Shabbat means week
Shavua means Shmitah cycle. I believe it is used in the 5th perek of Masechet Sanhedrin.

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