The special Holiday of Shavuos will envelop us on Thursday evening giving us an opportunity to bask in the holiness of the two days of the holiday with the added benefit of Shabbos as well.

Shavuos represents the time when G-d gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai when He proclaimed the Ten Commandments in the presence of the entire Jewish Nation.

That this year Shavuos coincides with Shabbos is significant, because G-d’s Revelation at Mount Sinai occurred on Shabbos!

The Torah reading on the first day of Shavuos is the narrative of the events and preparations that led up to G-d’s Revelation and we read the Ten Commandments. The Mitzvah to remember and observe Shabbos is the fourth of the Ten Commands.

Last Friday I was talking to a friend who was lamenting to me about some of the business challenges he is facing. “It used to be easy, everything fell into place, and I felt like I was in control. However, now I just feel frustrated and helpless as a lot depends on factors that are not in my power.”

Being that it was Friday afternoon, I told my friend that he is in luck and he can take advantage of tapping into the serenity that the Shabbos affords us. I shared with him that Shabbos is a day when we are to take a step back from the daily grind and worry. This is due to the limitations that G-d set for us as to what we are permitted to do on the Shabbos.

G-d Sanctified the seventh day of the week when He Himself ceased from creative activities and specifically gave the gift of Shabbos to the Jewish people.

When Shabbos is viewed as a day when we are to step back and relinquish our control over what we have, and what we can do, then when its holiness descends, we enter into a capsule of time when work for our livelihood cannot be actualized. This automatically sets the stage for us to dismiss our worry as well.

In fact, we are taught that the observance of Shabbos is the source that imbues blessings to all our endeavors during the coming week.

I related to him that when the multi-billion-dollar Olympia and York Co, which was owned by the Reichmann brothers, was on the verge of financial collapse, a son-in-law of the great philanthropist, Mr. Moshe (Paul) Reichman o.b.m. noticed that his father-in-law had prepared deep philosophical books on Friday. He asked him, “With all that is going on with the business, how will you be able to concentrate on this?” Mr. Reichmann answered, “True, my mind is consumed with our business woes, and I fear that it would encroach onto the serenity of my Shabbos, therefore I’m preparing these books so that I can get engrossed in them in hope that they will distract my mind from the mundane.”

Right after I gave this impassioned sales pitch for Shabbos, my friend responded, “That’s all nice, but I am not Frum – religious.”

I asked him, “How about, for your owe benefit, you become Shomer Shabbos with respect that you turn all control and worry over to G-d over the course of Shabbos? You’ll then be a Shomer Shabbos in regard to this feature of Shabbos! Once you don’t characterize yourself as being not be religious, it will give you the opportunity to grow and strive to achieve more.”

I cited an example that I had just read. A young man who had abandoned observant life had an audience with the great Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky o.b.m. In the midst of the conversation, the Rav asked him if he smoked. He said, ‘yes’. The Rav asked him if he would stop smoking on Shabbos, for creating a fire and the active use of fire is prohibited on Shabbos. The young man was honest and said he could not. The Rav then said, “If you do smoke on Shabbos, at least don’t snuff out the cigarette (which is prohibited) when you are done, just let it burn out on its own.” The young man agreed to that.

Some time later, the young man returned to Reb Chaim, back on track living an observant life. His conscious restraint for the sake of the sanctity of Shabbos, ‘ignited’ within him the motivation to build and expand upon it.

In life, there are times when we have to be creative in finding ways to encourage ourselves to attain higher spiritual goals!