The Shabbos Remembrance
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
- 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 Torah.org.