Friday, July 23, 2010

Shabbat Shalom!

Reb Avrohom Borenstein of Sochatchov (author of the Avnei Nezer) explains the concept behind the passage in the gemara that attributes the Shabbos candles to shalom bayit (peace in the home). He writes that the body is the physical encasement - the home - in which the soul of the Jew resides; the neshama remains hidden inside the body. During the week, there is no peace in this "home", everything is a fight: the neshama says "make a bracha with all your heart" while the body tells you to stuff that food into your mouth. The neshama encourages you to go the shul a few minutes early and says a few chapters of tehillim or learn a little something, and the body tells you "You've really worked yourself hard - you deserve a few extra minutes of sleep."

It's like that the entire week! There is no shalom bayit; the home and the resident are engaged in this constant battle. The whole time the neshama is straining and striving to serve God while the body is only interested in satisfying its urges. During the six days of the week, it's very difficult to do mitzvot because the body is expressing itself whereas the mitzvot are the expressions of the neshama. Occasionally the neshama is victorious during the week, but even then - as Rav Moshe Weinberger puts it - you come into shul "injured and limping". The body is very strong during the week and wins many times.

On Shabbos, however, the body allows the neshama to take over, the body surrenders and says "Today is your day." Shalom bayit is achieved, as the body gives itself over completely to the neshama. The body's entirety is subservient to the soul on Shabbos Kodesh, and this totality - this harmonious coupling of body and soul - is dedicated exclusively to serving God.

I love this idea; it perfectly sums up my feelings about Shabbos and the week. During the week, everything seems like a struggle. With so many distractions pulling us in all directions, I don't always feel 100% in my service. But on Shabbos, it doesn't feel like that. I don't feel any pressure, nothing is waiting for me, I don't have to be anywhere, running on a tight schedule. My prayers feel like they are at their ideal on Shabbos; it seems like I pray then the way I want to pray all the time...

Have a wonderful Shabbos!


Anonymous said...

why are you promoting a site like diggingwithdarren?!?!

Shmuel said...

Anon, the truth is I was just using the image because I liked the look of the Shabbos candles. I didn't even see the URL on the bottom until you pointed it out.

With that said, I want to make it clear that I am neither promoting nor endorsing a site like Digging with or any other sites similar to it.

Thanks for the heads up, anon.

Shmuel said...

Just to be safe, I switched images.