Thursday, February 06, 2020

the gift of shabbos

L'kavod Shabbos a double portion, lechem yomayim, of Sefas Emes:
1) The parsha of the mon is the first place where we find an explicit command of shmiras Shabbos.  Hashem told Klal Yisrael to take note that “Hashem nasan lachem es ha’shabbos al kein hu nosein lachem ba’yom ha’shishiu lechem yomayim.”  Chazal, however, tell us that the mitzvah of Shabbos was in fact revealed to Klal Yisrael one week earlier, when they camped at Marah and were tested with its bitter waters. 
Tosfos (Shabbos 87b) raises a problem with this interpretation.  The pesukim tell us that despite being told not to, people still went out to gather mon on Shabbos, and the gemara comments that had Klal Yisrael only kept this first Shabbos, they would have been immune from all enemy attacks.  According to Chazal, this Shabbos after the mon fell was not the first Shabbos in the midbar -- the first Shabbos was the Shabbos at marah.  This Shabbos was in fact the second Shabbos.  How do you get the two gemara’s to fit? 
Sefas Emes answers that Klal Yisrael was in fact commanded to keep Shabbos already in Marah.  What was given to them in the parsha of mon was not the command to keep Shabbos –- what was given was the gift of Shabbos.  The gemara tells us that Hashem had a precious present in his storehouse that he decided to bestow upon Klal Yisrael.  That present is Shabbos.    
The gemara in Baba Basra has a machlokes R’ Akiva and the Chachamim whether one who sells does so “b’ayin yafeh” -– if you sell a pit, is the path to get to the there included automatically, or can the seller be stingy and demand extra for it?  Everyone agrees, however, that if something is being given as a present, then it is given “b’ayin yafeh” –- everything needed is included, both the item and the means to get there and use it. 
“Hashem nasan lachem as ha’shabbos” – Shabbos is a gift.  Therefore, “hu nosein lachem… lechem yomayim” –- he gives us the means of access as well.  Everything is included.  You get a double portion of mon in advance and won’t go hungry by not working on Shabbos.
This is not just some technical distinction to resolve the two gemaras, but reflects how we approach Shabbos and how we celebrate Shabbos.  If Shabbos is just a day when you have to follow some rules that prevent you from doing a bunch of things that you want to do, then it’s a pretty miserable day.  But if Shabbos is a gift with all the trappings included, then that’s a different story.  Who doesn’t like presents?
2) “Ichluhu ha’yom ki Shabbos ha’yom l’Hashem…”  Sefas Emes (5651) asks: the parsha earlier tells us that a person was not allowed to collect more mon than could be consumed in a single day.  Anything leftover would spoil by the next morning.  So on Monday, you could collect only the amount of mon you could eat on that Monday; on Tuesday, you could collect only what you could eat on Tuesday, etc.   Why then do we need a separate, new command of “ichluhu ha’yom,” to make sure to eat the portion of mon that fell on Shabbos on Shabbos and not leave it over  -– Shabbos is no different in this regard than any other day?
Sefas Emes answers that when you were told to finish all the mon on your plate on Monday, it was so that there would not be leftovers that would automatically spoil on Tuesday.  When the Torah says to eat all the mon on your plate on Shabbos, it’s not just to avoid leftovers -– it’s because “ki Shabbos ha’yom la’Hashem,” because the day of Shabbos is special and therefore needs a seudah in celebration.  Eat l’shem kedushas Shabbos, for the day’s own sake. 


  1. those who left over, 16:20, resentful that Hashem would both a) strictly ration food [even if enough to satisfy] and b) demand its consumption, were the same who looked for mon on Shabbos, unable to believe that the double-portion of day six wasn't some kind of mistake*: 'Hashem would never simply make things easier for us. He did nothing to prevent our foreseeable enslavement, nor did He lift a finger for hundreds of years in the way of relief. Had we properly accepted His "gift" of Shabbos, we'd "have been immune from all enemy attacks"?? with a god like our's, who needs enemies?'

    *an accounting error or angelic mix-up. so they stuffed down the second portion before its time (was there then indigestion? or waste**?)

    **perhaps Moshe ordered the perps to say asher yatzar, omitting v'la'amode l'fanecha [the same phrase Avraham omitted from yatzar when he prayed for Avimelech and his household]?

  2. I think the common theme is strong enough to call this one devar Torah. The conclusion I would reach is that it's the gift of Shabbos that requires the kavod of se'udos. After all, one could follow all the black-letter hilkhos Shabbos, even the derabbanans, with 4 challah rolls and a couple of cups of wine.

  3. -- "Klal Yisrael was in fact commanded to keep Shabbos already in Marah"

    the sweetening by wood occured on Shabbos: Hashem instructed Moshe (va'yoreihu, 15:25), 'if today we needed the underlying wood of this trunk but not the bark, would we have a problem with dosh? with borer? how would we proceed?'*. the thirsting klal, hearing Moshe talking abstractedly, could only shout, 'why should we "have to follow some rules that prevent" us from drinking right NOW? chuck that thing in the water already!'

    *the particular woodchunk under discussion was the only obedient eitz from day three of creation [that tasted sweet just as its fruit], removed to His "storehouse" ever since refusing a dissident stance. {some say wood from this tree was used for the first Torah rollers ever, to which others say, 'bosh!'. machlokes.}

    -- "the gift of Shabbos...'b'ayin yafeh'"

    tosefes Shabbos because we don't know exact times, Shabbos Marah; otherwise learn tosefes from midbar Sin (via Sefas Emes) {Hashem goes from "stingy" to generous, from measuring bnei Yaakov's recent enslavement, al-kein tzivcha, Devarim 5:15, to sharing His original blessing, al-kein beirach, Shemos 20:11, with bnei Yisrael}