Constantly On Guard
This is where Shabbos comes in, because keeping Shabbos declares that there is a Creator. There is a famous story of a Jewish businessman who was about to close on an extremely profitable sale of a property one Friday afternoon but saw that it was getting close to Shabbos. When he asked the buyers if they wouldn’t mind finishing next week, they answered curtly that if he didn’t close that day they would go elsewhere. This didn’t stop him, though, and he stood up and said: “Gentleman, my deepest apologies but it is almost the Sabbath and I must stop now.” Even though he seemingly lost out on a huge monetary gain, the spiritual windfall he landed was the deal of the century! For he made it clear, not only to them but also to himself, that there is a Higher Power ruling over him, a Power to whom we are totally subservient. The Creator had become even more real in the life of this special Yid.
But we don’t have to go so far. When we sit down to the Shabbos meal we must constantly make sure that we are not violating any halachos. For example, if someone put a napkin on top of some soda which spilled on the table, may we move that sopping wet napkin? If something falls into our soup, how can we take it out? How may you mash a potato from the cholent for your child? By delving into hilchos Shabbos we are taking the intellectual knowledge that Hashem created the world and is our Master and turning it into a reality.
We now understand why Shabbos is an excellent way to prepare for Rosh Hashanah. The first thing we must do is to learn hilchos Shabbos. There are many seforim written in English that explain the laws in a clear and practical manner. This will not only teach us many things which we were never aware of — sometimes even Torah prohibitions — but it will also raise our level of awareness of our actions. Many people also have the custom to learn one halacha at each of the Shabbos meals.
Second, let us try extra hard for the next few Shabbosim to be extremely careful in our adherence to the rules of Shabbos. By doing so, we will strengthen our awareness of Hashem’s active presence in our lives and thus bring ourselves a bit closer to feeling that the Day of Judgment is rapidly approaching.
About the Author: Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus, raised and educated in Los Angeles and subsequently Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim, is the Rosh Kollel of the Zichron Aron Yaakov Kollel in Kiryat Sefer , Israel. He lectures for the public and is the director of the Chasdei Rivka Free Loan Gemach. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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