Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event
It’s 12:30 on a Yom Tov, Monday morning. You are about to leave the synagogue for the third day in a row. As you look around, you notice, even as you try to ignore it, a certain wilting of the spirit. A belabored pace. How good you felt on Friday night, with the onset of Shabbat. An effortless serenity set in then.
But ever since the departure of Shabbat and the onset of Yom Tov, your soul feels heavier. It does not soar to its Sabbath heights. And as you walk past the apartment building next to the synagogue on your way home, dressed in your finest clothes and wearing a three-day shadow, you are aware of the curious gaze of the night guard.
“Do these people ever work ?” he must be thinking. “How much longer will they be parading between these matinee and evening performances ?” And yes, you find yourself wondering, perhaps you should be at work. What’s going on there anyway, and will the phone be ringing when you get home? Oh, banish the thought! It’s Yom Tov. Let’s celebrate.
Perhaps we repress these thoughts and never articulate them. But the rabbis, in their honesty and sensitivity, openly address them. Which Havdalah blessing do we recite when Shabbat leaves and Yom Tov arrives?” asks the Talmud. “Blessed are You, God, who separates between holy [Shabbat] and holy [Yom Tov],” suggests the Tanna Kamma. “No,” responds Rabbi Dosa, ‘Blessed are You, God, who separates between concentrated holiness and diluted holiness.’ ”
We awaken to this world with the breath that God first breathed into man on Friday afternoon. And each Friday afternoon, with the onset of Shabbat, God breathes into our souls again. The Kabbalists call this the “neshamah yeterah,” the extra soul. But this Divine bonus is ephemeral. Cinderella-like, it evaporates on Motzaei Shabbat. As it departs, our surviving soul feels faint and lonely and needs to be revived with smelling salts, besamim.
But as we bid farewell to Shabbat and welcome in Yom Tov, we do not use besamim. “Why not?” asks the Rashbam. Because, he suggests, Yom Tov has its own neshamah yeterah, so that our weekday soul is not left alone.
Not true, say the Tosafists. If that were the case, then we would use besamim on Monday night, when Yom Tov departs. But we do not. There is no neshamah yeterah on Yom Tov, insist the Tosafists. But still, they explain, we do not use besamim when Shabbat departs and Yom Tov arrives because we comfort the grieving soul instead with food and drink, “simchat Yom Tov.”
Not surprisingly, the chassidic masters side with the Rashbam. They are not prepared to give up on the existence of a Yom Tov neshamah yeterah. Why then do we not use besamim on Motzaei Yom Tov? Because, explains the Sefat Emet, the Yom Tov neshamah yeterah never departs. It remains with us after Yom Tov leaves.
In that respect, the Sefat Emet continues, the neshamah yeterah of Shabbat differs from the neshamah yeterah of Yom Tov. Like Shabbat itself, the neshamah yeterah of Shabbat is a gift from God that comes and goes automatically, with no effort on our part.
The neshamah yeterah of Yom Tov, however, like Yom Tov itself, does not come unless and until we, through the Sanhedrin, announce its arrival. And we work at it, by cooking, eating, drinking and celebrating. The neshamah yeterah of Yom Tov is the product of our investment. And what we earn, we keep.
About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.
Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)
Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?
If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.
Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.
The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.
“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”
If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives
Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.
Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.
We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!
A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]
Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.
If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.
The kohen gadol may not enter the Temple unless his hair is cut every seven days.
A commonly employed and permissible device regarding the prohibition of wearing fresh clothes during the Nine Days is to don them for a moment or two before the Nine Days.
The prayer of Mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem mentions God’s rainmaking powers but it is not an immediate request for rain.
According to the Bach, Rosh Hashanah is referred to as moed, festival, the same term the Torah uses to describe Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/celebration-versus-serenity/2013/10/04/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: