Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayechi

Week -After- Week

By Rabbi Label Lam

Issachar is a strong-boned donkey crouching between the boundaries. And he saw “Menucha”-rest, that it was good, and the land that it was pleasant, and he bent his shoulder to bear and he became an indentured laborer. (Breishis 49:14-15)

And he bent his shoulder to bear…The yoke of learning Torah… (Rashi)

Something doesn’t make sense here. Issachar we know was the paradigm of the dedicated Torah Scholar. The reason that he accepts this degree of devotion is that “he saw that “Menuchah”- rest is good”. How does one follow from the other? If he perceives that rest is good then why does he work extra hard?

The key may come from the very beginning of human history. The verses tell us, “And so the heaven and the earth and all- their array were completed. G-d completed, on the seventh day His work which He had done, and He ceased from all His work which He had done. G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He ceased from all His work which G-d created.” (Breishis 2:1-3)

Bothered by the appearance of impropriety that HASHEM had completed the work “on the seventh day” and in light of the contradiction in the verse which states, “He “ceased from all His work”, Rashi adds, “What was the world lacking at the end of the sixth day? “Menucha”-Rest! When Shabbos came, “Menucha”-rest came and then the work (of creation) was complete.” “Menucha”-rest, comes to crown the act of creation. It appears to be more than the absence of work since it is “something” that comes when Shabbos arrives. What is this magical “something” called “Menucha”?

In college, I was getting ready for a big exam. I was up almost all night cramming when I realized that I needed some sleep. I set the big ticker, a wind up clock, for six O’Clock and put my head down for what would be a short nap. At one minute to six I awoke with a startle and stared at the clock. The alarm had not rung. “What had startled me into an awakened state?” I wondered. Then it hit me. The clock had stopped at 5:59. It was the jolt of sudden silence that jarred me from my slumber. We joke that when my wife came to Monsey from the Bronx she would wake-up in the middle of the night and shout, “What was that?” And I would answer, “That was the sound of #5 Train not going over head.”

The joy of Shabbos lies in that explosive sense of serenity when Shabbos is ushered in. When Halacha takes the hammer from our hands the pounding of the weekday clock is replaced by a sublime melody of the soul. To those who’ve been there these are mere understatements. There are times when Shabbos is so high that it is beyond what words could ever convey. It is experienced as a clear sign between HASHEM and His loyal Jewish People.

Yet there are other times when a Friday Night can feel like Monday morning. When the week was filled with nasty, brutish, ugly, foolish, and empty action even the brightness of Shabbos is dulled. Without the preparation of “six days shall you work” the seventh day is not felt as a day to returning to HASHEM. Ouch! We have wandered from our purpose in life and we feel it.

However, when after having worked hard and gained ground in goodness through the pedestrian path of the weekdays the spiritual inertia we have generated is felt on Shabbos as an exhilaration of the soul. We are coming closer. “Menucha”-rest is that which follows the hard work, when one can revel in meaningful accomplishments. Maybe we can say that Issachar seeing that “Menucha” is good therefore invested himself that much more in the task of Torah so that when Shabbos, which is a taste of the future world, finally arrives he would then delight in that goodness more and more deeply week after week.


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

"Peripheral Events" May be the Focus of Divine Providence
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Stamped a Sinner
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Parshas Kedoshim
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Significance of the Omer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Growth Period
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Different Strokes for Different Folks
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

> Now Become Holy!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

The Crossroads of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

It's None of Your Business
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Students of Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

On One Foot
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Holy, or Not Holy - That is the Question!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

ArtScroll

Not Just an Act of Kindness
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5766

Will That Be A Medium, Or Well Done?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

The "Second" Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Why is this Portion Different from Other Portions?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information