Wednesday, October 10, 2012
HASHEM’S MENUCHA “And Elokim completed on the seventh day His work which He had done and He abstained on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” The Torah tells us that G-d completed His creation on the seventh day, Shabbos: The commentators ask that He did not ostensibly create anything on Shabbos so what does it mean that He ‘completed’ His work on the seventh day – it should have said that He completed His work on the sixth day? Rashi offers two explanations that address this issue. In the second he writes: “What was the world lacking – menucha – Shabbos came and menucha came, [then] the work was completed and finished.” Rashi is answering that HaShem did indeed create something on Shabbos – the concept of menucha. This teaches us an important point – one may have thought that the concept of ‘rest’ is as a passive mode of behavior, and not something that needs to be created, however, we see from here that the Torah concept of menucha is something that HaShem actively created by refraining from regular melacha. Accordingly, HaShem’s ‘menucha was not merely refraining from creative activity, rather it also involved a cessation of activity that ‘enabled’ HaShem to, so to speak, reflect on and appreciate the fruits of the incredible activity of the previous six days. As we know, by ‘resting’ on Shabbos we emulate HaShem’s original ‘rest’. We learn from Rashi that the menucha that we are required to participate in does not simply mean that we should not do any melacha, rather it requires an active effort. What does this active effort involve? Just like HaShem stepped back and reflected upon all His work of the previous six days so too we are supposed to actively contemplate our achievements of the previous six days and appreciate what we have achieved. Thus an important aspect of the Avoda of Shabbos is contemplation of where we are holding in life which should enable us to enter the next week with a sense of direction of how to build on our accomplishments of thus far.