A Fountain of Youth

(Torah Portion Ki Sisa) A Fountain of Youth

Shalom, greetings from the holy City of Jerusalem!

Malki and I are here to attend the wedding of Meyer Yitzchok Cutler, son of Michael and Sheila Cutler and to visit with our daughter Gitty and son in law, Reuven and our son Yehoshua, who is currently studying at Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

With this week’s portion of Ki Sisa, we reached the milestone of having published and sent out weekly Shabbat messages for sixteen years! Currently, there are over 2300 recipients!

I would like to focus on a fascinating Medrash. Our leader Moshe spent 40 days in Heaven as a student diligently studying the entire Torah while being taught by G-d Himself. However, he was unable to retain any of the information. On the fortieth and final day, as Moshe was ready to descend the mountain with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, G-d gave him the Torah knowledge as a gift and he was able to remember it.

The Medrash explains that Moshe forgot the Torah and saw no success in his studies until G-d gave it to him as a gift, so that one who feels disheartened because he has not found success in the understanding of Torah should not give up. Rather, he should keep at it, striving and yearning, and eventually G-d will accord him the wisdom, understanding and appreciation of the Torah and its Mitzvos, as a gift.

Although I have a sense of accomplishment from producing a Shabbat Message each week for many years, I recognize that it is definitely a gift from Hashem, and I thank Him for giving me this opportunity to spread His sweet, awesome and pleasant Torah to so many people. I also ask that He give me strength, wisdom and clarity to continue to do so for many more years!
Your feedback, comments and support are greatly valued and appreciated.

Our Torah portion speaks of the holiness of the Shabbos and how the construction of the Temple – G-d’s dwelling place on earth – came to a halt on Shabbos in deference to the laws and sanctity of the Shabbos.

The Talmud teaches us that just as the Torah was given as a gift, so too, the observance of Shabbos was given to the Jewish people as a gift from the Almighty. G-d told Moshe, “I have a special gift for the Jewish Nation in my treasure vault – and the Shabbos is its name. Go and inform the Jewish people about it.”

Rabbi Gedalia Schorr o.b.m. points out something beautiful: If one looks at our Sage’s statement, he will realize that it does not say that G-d ever transferred the gift of Shabbos out of His treasure vault. Rather, at the onset of Shabbos we actually enter G-d’s treasure vault – a different environment and existence. From the moment Shabbos begins until it ends, we are uplifted and transformed, living in the spiritual atmosphere of Hashem’s treasure vault!

The gift of Shabbos broadens itself and extends to other gifts as well.

The Medrash relates that when Rebbe Yehudah Hanasi was asked, “In which merit do the people residing outside of Israel gain their wealth?” He responded, “In the merit of honoring the Shabbos and Festivals!”

In the beginning of the Torah it tells us that G-d blessed and sanctified the day of Shabbos. The Medrash asks, “With what did G-d bless and sanctify it?” The Medrash answers, “With the radiance of a person’s face. The observance of Shabbos adds radiance to a person’s face and it looks different than the way it looks during the week.”

A great Kabalist made the following comment: Just as we know that if one has two garments and he switches them off, he retains and extends the durability of each garment, so too, one who is blessed with a new face when he embraces the holiness of Shabbos, will extend his youthful appearance during the rest of the week as well!

Wishing you a most restful, uplifting, peaceful
and inspirational Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks