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Parshas Beshalach

The Shabbos Remembrance

The Mitzvah:

The majesty of Shabbos, the seventh day of the week has to be experienced to be believed. The sanctified rest day of the Sabbath is a remembrance of the creation process and of the Exodus.

What is interesting is how yetzias Mitzrayim, the exodus from Egypt is tied up with this holy day.

- The Friday night Kiddush beckoning in the holy day recalls the Exodus.

- The national observance of Shabbos began after the Jewish people’s redemption, prior to their general acceptance of Torah at Sinai.

- The Omer offering is to commence Mimochoros HaShabbos, “on the morrow of Shabbos” which is actually a reference to 1st day of Pesach, the date of the Exodus.

- Traditionally, the Shabbos preceding Pesach is called Shabbos HaGadol, the Great Shabbos.

- The fifty Torah remembrances of the Exodus parallels the fifty weeks in the Jewish lunar year (Sefas Emes, Shabbos HaGadol).

But what does the celebration of Shabbos, the “seventh day” of the week, the day whereupon G-d rested from His creation of the world, also viewed as zecher l’yetzias Mitzrayim, a remembrance to the departure from Egypt?

In truth, the two are interrelated.

The Shabbos Bereishis, the Sabbath of creation marked the point when the Master of the Universe completed crafting His marvelous world. “And G-d completed on the seventh day the labor which he made” (Bereishis 2:2).

Technically speaking, the material was in place and was “finished”. Then, the rules of the nature realm and how the world was to function became fully operational. And yet, it still lacked absolute completion.

That “completion” would only be attained generations later upon yetzias Mitzrayim commemorating the departure from Egypt.

Through the Exodus, the nation of Yisrael, the Children of Israel came into being. This small, newly liberated nation would become the ones responsible for spiritually “completing” the world – providing it with direction and purpose with their acceptance of Torah. This is why Shabbos is bound up with yetzias Mitzrayim (Maharal, Tiferes Yisrael Ch.44).

The nascent nation went from a physically oppressed group of slaves to a chosen people and a kingly nation. Their redemption charters a journey from the “mundane” and “material”– personified in the hedonistic nature of Egypt and the physical labor of the Israelites for Paroh – to a pure, “form” and “spiritual” identity. It is the transformation from the six mundane days of week to the sanctified seventh endpoint: Shabbos

The observance of Shabbos is the exclusive divine gift given to the Jewish people. The nation’s “holiness” corresponds to the holiness of this day called Shabbos Kodosh, the holy Sabbath. The freedom from Egypt was the catalyst to the spiritual freedom. Indeed, the fiftieth day from their escape they embraced the Torah on Shavuos. And on which day was the Torah given? On Shabbos of course!

It is the “completion” of their spiritual form and their Shabbos observance that complements the “completion” of G-d’s creation. Hence the remembrance of Shabbos is inclusive of both creation and the Exodus.

Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene and



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