Print This Post Print This Post

Believing is seeing: eye I

Written by Rabbi Daniel Leeman

“See – G-d has given you Shabbos… a person should not leave his place on the seventh day” [1].

We have been taught [2] that Shabbos is a special gift. Why then do some people perceive Shabbos to be a cumbersome burden rather than a gift?

Valentine Pototsky lived in Lantzog, Poland. He was the son of the wealthy Count Pototsky, of whom it was said that he owned nine hundred and ninety-nine properties; not because he could not afford another to round-off his properties to one thousand, but because he wanted people to spend longer discussing him and his wealth! (It worked!)

Valentine began studying Tanach with his friend Zaramba, and after a while they learned in secret with a Rabbi. Eventually he moved to Amsterdam and became ‘Avraham ben Avraham’, the righteous convert.

Before his conversion, every Shabbos he felt a spiritual awakening without knowing what it was or why, and in his elevated state was heard to call out in polish “tzo teh zah Sobota?” (what is the nature of Shabbos?). The Shabbos before he converted he constantly spoke of the sanctity of Shabbos without even being aware or having experienced its nature!

When his father’s messengers eventually tracked him down and unsuccessfully attempted to convince him to retract his conversion (before executing him), he allegedly replied rhetorically: “after smelling the lux (Shabbos oil lantern), how could I possibly give up Shabbos?”

(Almost) universally there are seven days to a week. Why should this be the case? Everybody knows that G-d created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. But what did He create afterwards: did He rest for longer rather than one day? Perhaps then, a ‘week’ should be eight days, or more!

Rather then, we have been taught that the seventh day was not merely a case of not creating anything, but rather ‘Shabbos’ was actively created [3].
Shabbos exists: it is a reality. As the verse says “SEE – Hashem has given you Shabbos” – we just need to open our eyes and contemplate [4]. Only then can a person truly recognise the gift of Shabbos.

Perhaps this is further alluded to in the continuation of the verse: “a person should not leave his place on the seventh day”. If a person is truly looking to find himself, the best place to start is himself!

Have a 20-20 Shabbos,


Additional sources:
Story: HaGaon
[1] Shemos 16:29
[2] Shabbos 10b
[3] Maharal
[4] See Sforno

Leave a Comment