Distinction & Purpose!

When someone or something is given a name or title, he or it is given an identity and a certain reality. The Torah states that during the seven days of creation of the world G-d specifically called or named six things: Light, night (darkness), the waters, the sky, the earth and Adam – man. After Adam was created the Torah relates that whatever Hebrew name Adam gave to an animal became their reality and essence.

In the beginning of creation there was light and darkness. Rashi quotes a Medrash that says that there was an Arvuvia ― intermingling ― of light and darkness. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein o.b.m. wonders what Rashi means by a mixture of light and darkness. After all, a bit of light will dispel much darkness. In what way can they be considered mingling?

Reb Moshe therefore explains that the word Rashi uses, Arvuvia, does not mean a mingling of light and darkness, rather, in the beginning, light and darkness did not have a framework of set times. G-d saw that this was not a good thing, so He made a distinctive pattern, light would reign during the day and darkness during the night.

Reb Moshe explains this further. G-d saw that if light and darkness would come at random times, there would be no set pattern to help motivate people to fulfill their calling. Each person would work and do things according to their own schedule. G-d therefore set the boundaries of daytime and nighttime, where man could clearly see his mission and accomplish what needs to be done during the day, and at night he would have time to rest and recharge his energies.

Reb Moshe explains how this concept of having parameters and a clear view is what separates a Jew from the rest of the world.

At the conclusion of the Shabbat we recite Havdala. This recitation is said on wine, spices and a fire torch. Havdala means separation, and within the blessing we mention four types of separations. We say G-d separated between – holy and mundane, light and darkness, Israel and the nations, and between the Seventh day and the six days of creation.

We are unique because we have the Torah with its many Mitzvos that clearly guide us how to conduct ourselves throughout the day and night. We know how to serve G-d without having to guess or assume on our own.

Shabbos is our day of rest and is infused and invested with a tremendous dose of Kedusha – sanctity.  To maximize and feel the special sanctity of Shabbos one must understand and know how to apply the laws and parameters of what is permitted and forbidden to do on the Shabbos. Without boundaries for its observance, it lacks structure, and one cannot embrace its holiness.

Over the Holiday, my son-in-law, Rabbi Reuven Epstein, treated me to a beautiful idea that he saw in a Sefer ― book ― called Bas Ayin.

Bas Ayin explains that G-d configured certain days with more sanctity than others and certain locations with more sanctity than others.

We all could imagine that in Heaven, in G-d’s Abode there is a super charged level of sanctity, clarity and purity, where the parameters of truth are clearly defined, and accordingly one can be exactingly judged.

The holiest place on earth is the Temple Mount. In the Temple, there were places where only the ritually pure were able to enter; other areas where only a Kohain – priest could enter; and then there was the Holy of holies where only the Kohain Godol – high priest could enter only during the Yom Kippur service. The punishment of entering a forbidden area gradually increased with the intensity of its holiness.

The temple is a location in this world which duplicates the Sanctity of the Heavenly realm. From this most sanctified spot sanctity radiates upon the rest of the world.

G-d’s presence is veiled in the world we live in. Yet we are granted certain holy days, such as the weekly Shabbos, when we are transferred to a model of the Heavenly realm where creative activities are not performed. The heightened level of holiness of the day of Shabbos is what prohibits the 39 categories of prohibited activities, for this helps maintain the atmosphere of Heavenly holiness. This blessed day instills holiness upon our environment and brings blessing on everything for the upcoming week!