Shabbos Day or Saturday?
“Remember the day of the Shabbos to sanctify it. Six days you shall do labor and do all your work; and the Seventh day is the Shabbos to Hashem, Your G-d. You may not do any work…”
When it says, “You may not do any work (on the seventh day),” it’s not only referring to abstaining from physical work, rather it also means talking about mundane things. As Rav Hirsch states that the word zachor, remember, is the statement telling us to keep the Shabbos in our minds and hearts, which includes giving verbal expression to its holiness.
Rabbi Ribiat points out,
“…You shall honor (the Shabbos) in your goings, (by refraining) from pursuing your weekday occupations, and from speaking (of them) – v’dabeir davar.”
From the words v’dabeir davar, the Novi tells us a halacha:
- The purpose and character of our conversations and thoughts (i.e. mindset) must be different from that to which we are accustomed during the week.
V’dabeir davar includes restrictions upon verbally expressing one’s intentions to perform a melechah after Shabbos (even if the discussion does not help achieve one’s plans in any way.) One may not state his intention to repair an appliance, send an email, drive a car or similar melechah activities after Shabbos. In addition, one may not negotiate business deals or plan strategies, etc. on Shabbos.
What type of speech is permitted?
Speech that doesn’t comprise any melechah intentions is permissible if the conversation is enjoyable to the participants. Even though mundane discussions can be permitted, it is nevertheless praiseworthy to limit or avoid such talk on Shabbos. Why? Shabbos isn’t just a day off from our physical labor like the non-Jews view Saturday; rather it is a holy day, given to us as a gift by our Creator. As we say on Shabbos morning,
“Who gives us a heritage of rest to His people, Yisrael, in His holiness on the day of the holy Shabbos.”
The Eitz Yosef teaches that all the weekday blessings and success come as a result of the Shabbos’s holiness. Therefore, what you put into Shabbos is what you get out of it. The amount of energy (spirituality) you inject into sanctifying the Shabbos, will determine the amount of blessing that will be deposited into the coming week.
Here is a story of one incident that changed a Gadol’s entire life:
Rav Scheinberg’s daughter, Rivka, became sick with pneumonia when she was 5 years old, and her condition became critical on Shabbos. Had this occurred on a weekday, as a merit for her recovery, Rav Scheinberg would have accepted upon himself to fast on that day of the week for the rest of his life.
However, since it was Shabbos when it is forbidden to fast, Rav Scheinberg asked the rebbetzin if she would permit him to accept upon himself not to speak entire Shabbos, except while learning Torah or davening. This was a monumental undertaking for the rebbetzin since the only time she had to speak to him was on Shabbos when there was more family time. But she did not hesitate and encouraged him to do this taanis dibbur.
And even after his daughter had a robust recovery, Rav Scheinberg continued this practice – for the rest of this life.
What can we learn from this?
Why did Rav Scheinberg specifically choose to accept upon himself a taanis dibbur? What can we learn from this? That one must guard his mind more than anything else for it produces all the results of life.
Like what? It’s responsible for one’s thoughts and feelings etc. The brain is the master control center of speech. When one communicates, the brain tells the mouth what to say. A person’s speech expresses his innermost thoughts of what he’s feeling and thinking. He also creates his atmosphere (mood) for him and those who surround him as well.
What a person speaks about on Shabbos will have a profound influence on how one “views” Shabbos and the impact that it will have on him. Therefore, we have to SOS – Scrutinize Our Speech – to ensure that we (i.e. our souls) can be in sync with the holiness and spirit of this day.
All our work is finished
Furthermore, Rashi says that the commandment of the Shabbos includes not only deed but attitude, for when the Shabbos arrives, one should feel that all his work is finished, even though his desk or workbench is still piled high. There are two things that Rashi is telling us.
A person’s attitude (which takes place in his mind), will greatly affect how he will come into Shabbos. In addition, the topics he engages in on Shabbos will affect his attitude toward what the meaning of what Shabbos is supposed to be. For this reason, one should preferably choose a “Torah subject” that is enjoyable to him on Shabbos.
Why do the halachos of V’Dabeir Davar seem to be accidentally transgressed? This could due to the fact that we don’t prepare spiritually for Shabbos. As Rabbi Frand says,
“When it comes to Pesach, every man prepares before Pesach; some even buy a new Haggadah each year so that they can come to the Seder prepared.”
We have to do the very same for Shabbos. We cannot plop ourselves down at the table Friday night unprepared and yet expect to have a meaningful Shabbos. Especially for those who have children at home – you must make Shabbos special for them.
A friend from Silver Spring came to show me a notebook in which he writes down riddles for his kids during the week. Friday night at the meal, they have family time trying to work out the riddles. Another person told me that at the Seudah in his home, each person has to say a special thing Hashem did for them during the week. They don’t have to say a vort or read from their parshah sheet, which most people don’t pay attention to. All they have to say is one episode in which they noticed the Hand of Hashem in their lives.”
We must learn the halachos of v’dabeir davar which will help us be more conscious of what we speak about on Shabbos. It will also ensure that the holiness of Shabbos remains elevated. With Hashem’s help, may we merit to experience Olam Habah in this world. When there will be only days of Shabbos – tranquility and holiness – to the extent that every man will sit under his vine and under his fig tree and none will make them afraid.
- In memory of: Miriam Liba bas R’ Aharon – a tzadeikes in our time; R’ Ayreh Moshe Eliyahu ben Shmuel, Avraham Yosef ben Meir Dovid, Zushe Yosef ben Shmuel Tzvi, Esther Perel bas R’ Shlomo, Miriam bas Zelig Shaul, Menachem ben Shimon, Dovid Tzvi ben Yosef Yochanan, Kayla Rus bas Bunim Tuvia, Dovid ben Uri HaLevi, Dovid Avraham ben Chiya Kehos, Rafael Chaim Yitzchak Yaakov ben Binyamin Yehudah, Berinah Z’latah bas Reuven Yitzchak, Yosef ben Moshe HaLevi, Tuvyah Shlomo ben Naftali Tzvi HaKohein, Altah Soshah Devorah bas Aryeh Leibush, Mashah Tzivyah bas R’ Shlomo Zalman, Shmuel Dovid HaLevi ben R’ Yosef Moshe HaLevi, Yehudah Ruvein ben Meir and all the other departed souls of our nation.
- For the complete recovery of: Chayah Malka bas Bas-Sheva, Menachem ben Rivka, Rivka bas Esther Rochel, Shilat bas Louza Aliza, Daniel ben Louza Aliza, Avraham ben Louza Aliza, Yosef ben Ahuva Masuda and among the other sick ones of our nation.
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