Parshas Emor 2007

This Shabbos we read Parshas Emor. The second half of the Parsha contains the Torahs’ instructions for all the holidays. When the Torah begins telling us about the holidays, there is a verse that seems out of place. “And Hashem spoke to Moses saying. Speak to the Jewish people, and say to them, the holidays of Hashem, that you shall call callings of holiness, these are My appointed festivals. Six days work shall be done, and on the seventh day you shall rest, a Shabbos of …. it is Shabbos for Hashem in all your communities…” (Leviticus 23:1-3) There are two points that must be addressed here. 1 - Why does the Torah start off talking about the holidays by telling us about Shabbos? 2 - What does the Torah mean when it says keep the Shabbos in all your communities? The Zohar tells us that the divine presence rests even on a Shabbos of the weekday. What is a Shabbos of the weekday?

The Talmud tells us that if a person is traveling in a dessert, and has no way of finding out what day of the week it really is, they should count six days and then observe the seventh day as Shabbos. This is what the Zohar is telling us. If you kept Shabbos, certainly if it was the right Shabbos, or even if you had no way of knowing better, and kept the wrong day as Shabbos, (a Shabbos of the weekday), the divine presence rests on you. Shabbos is so holy and important, it brings the sechina, the presence of Hashem, to rest on all those who keep it.

This is why the Torah begins talking about the holidays with the commandment about Shabbos. A person could think, “I don’t really need Shabbos Every week is a bit much for me. I’ll just observe the holidays. It’s very beautiful to be with the family, and to celebrate the holidays. That is enough for me.” This is terrible mistake. The Torah says that the introduction to keeping the holidays is to keep the Shabbos. When together with keeping the Shabbos, we also keep the holidays, - then we are really doing what we as Jews are supposed to do. Then Hashem brings His sechina, His divine presence, to rest on us.