Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Ki Sisa

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"And the Children of Israel shall guard the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath throughout their generations, an eternal covenant."[31:16]

In the Talmud [Shabbos 119], Rebbe Yossi the son of Rebbe Yehudah says that when a man returns from the synagogue on Friday night, two angels come along with him -- one good, and one evil. If they reach the house and find that the candles are lit, the table is set, and the beds are made (meaning, the house is ready), then the good angel says "may it be His will that it be so for another Shabbos," and the bad angel is forced to answer "Amen."

If we look at the verse above, the Hebrew word for "for their generations" is written in its "contracted" form -- without those letters (in this case, the letter "vav") which indicate certain vowels. Thus, as an anonymous source pointed out, "l'dorosam" can also be read "l'dirosam" -- "for their homes." If the candles are lit, the table is set, and the house is prepared, then it is immediately recognizable that this is a Jewish home.

Often, people look at Shabbos as an "all or nothing" venture -- if I'm not willing to observe the Sabbath for 25 hours, then it's not worthwhile to observe it for 25 minutes, either. The Torah is hinting to us, however, that this is not true. There is tremendous value in lighting the candles, setting the table, and sitting down together as a Jewish family, regardless of what happens later.

Last year, a few outstanding Jewish philanthropists launched a "Birthright Israel" program, offering teens heavily subsidized visits to Israel for several weeks. While there is certainly great potential value in a trip to Israel, the concept that we've learned here -- that a Friday night Shabbos meal identifies a Jewish home -- suggests a simpler, yet more permanent, take on a Jewish birthright, one that has kept us together "for all generations." Not to mention, it's more "cost-effective," too!

Just ask your spouse, your children, your parents, and/or your friends, to join you for two hours each Friday night. Light the candles. Set the table. And, of course, do your best in the kitchen. At this time of year, Shabbos still arrives in the early evening in the Northern Hemisphere -- candle- lighting is before 6:30 across the US (there's a list at http://www.ou.org/). Who can't set aside six to eight p.m.? No TV, no phone calls, just you and the family, plus the guests who may have joined you.

Take _this_ trip for six weeks, and you may never want to go back. You might even want to do a repeat on Shabbos morning...!

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Yaakov Menken

This week's class is dedicated to Daniel and Marcelo Bloomfield Ramagem by their mother, Sonia Bloomfield Ramagem. She knows that they are conscious of their roles in life, and with their work and dedication to humanity they will surely better the world and speed the coming of the Moshiach.


 

ARTICLES ON NASO:

View Complete List

Faith in Motion
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Complexity
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

In the Wilderness
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A New Found Freedom
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Seeing the Big Picture
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Holistic Modeling
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

ArtScroll

Shalom Bayis
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Messiah, Can I Keep My Rolls?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Speak It Out
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5769

> Pursue Positive or Sidestep Sin
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Lessons Learned From Gifts of the Nesiim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Being a Levi
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Ramban DOES NOT Contradict The Talmud
- 5773

Why Are Children Called "Redeemers"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

My Torah
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

From the Depths of the Heart
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5762



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