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Chapter 72:1-3
The Sanctity of the Sabbath

1. The holy Sabbath is a great sign and covenant granted to us by G-d to teach that He created the heavens, the earth, and everything they contain in six days, and that He rested on the seventh day. This is one of the foundations of our faith.

Our Sages (Jerusalem Talmud, Nedorim 3) state that the Sabbath is equivalent to all the mitzvos. Whoever observes the Sabbath according to it is laws is considered as if he observed the entire Torah. Conversely, whoever desecrates the Sabbath is considered as if he desecrated the entire Torah.

[This equation is also evident from] Ezra's statements (Nechemiah 9:13-14), "You descended on Mount Sinai and You gave Your people the Torah and the mitzvos and You made known to them the holiness of Your Sabbath."

2. Anyone who desecrates the Sabbath publicly is considered as an idolater in all respects. [Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggeros Moshe, Vol. 3, Responsa 12, 21, and 22) explains that today, a non-observant person most often is _not_ considered "one who desecrates the Sabbath publicly," and maybe given an aliyah or other synagogue honor.] His food and drink must be treated with all the laws regarding food and drink of non-Jews.

"Publicly" is defined as meaning "in the presence of ten Jews." More particularly, it does not referred to their physical presence at the time of the violation, but rather, to their knowledge of it. Similarly, the Pri Megadim writes that "publicly" means in the presence of ten Jews, or when they have knowledge about the matter. [Therefore, "one who desecrates the Sabbath publicly" is one who knows and understands the full import of Sabbath observance in Jewish law (as per Rav Feinstein above), and publicly announces his deliberate desecration of the Sabbath or actually desecrates it in the presence of ten Jews.]

3. Therefore, the prophet Isaish (56:2) states: "Happy is the man who does this and the person who holds fast to it; who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it..."

The reward - both in this world and the great reward hidden away for the world to come - for anyone who observes the Sabbath according to its laws, honors it, and takes pleasure in it according to his abilities is also explicitly mentioned by the prophet (Isaiah 58:13-14):

If you restrain your feet from attending to your desires on My hold day because of the Sabbath and you call the Sabbath "a delight unto the holy G-d" and "honored," and your honor it by refraining from your normal activities, not pursuing your affairs or speaking of mundane matters, then you shall delight in G-d and I will have you ride on the high places of the earth and I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your Patriarch, for the mouth of G-d has spoken.

      Sanctity of the Sabbath
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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.


 

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