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"Chavi, please wash the rest of the dishes. Esti, can you fold these clothes, please? Moishie, kindly make your bed and straighten the books on your shelf. Everybody please hurry. Our guest is coming soon." The family busily got to work. Imma put the finishing touches on the delicious food, as the time of the guest's arrival quickly drew near.
"Kinderlach, please come here. I would like to tell you something"
"I would like you to welcome our guest with a big warm smile. It is important to be on your very best behavior for him."
"It will be our pleasure, Abba."
The time had finally arrived, and the honored guest entered the home. Everyone felt the holiness of his presence. The entire family had worked so hard preparing for his arrival. Now they could really enjoy his visit.
Rav Weiss zt"l was one of the distinguished Rabbonim of pre-war Hungary. He would treat the Shabbos as an honored guest. Just as you can sense the presence of a guest in a room, so too you could feel the holiness of the Shabbos in Rav Weiss' home.
"The seventh day shall be holy for you" (Shemos 35:2). The Ha'amek Davar explains that each Jew must sanctify the Shabbos, in accordance with his means and abilities. He should make all of the physical preparations for himself and his home to honor the holy guest. His actions on the Shabbos Kodesh also bring honor to the guest. He can make the holiness of Shabbos perceivable. The Mishna in Demai relates that one who is not normally trusted to maaser his fruits, may be believed on Shabbos. The kedusha (holiness) of the day is so awesome that he senses it. He would not dare lie on such a day. That is the holiness of Shabbos.
Kinderlach . . .
How do you honor your special weekly guest, the Shabbos? Do you help Imma and Abba with the preparations? Do you dress in your best clothes? Do you keep them clean? Do you greet the Shabbos warmly with singing and prayer? Are you on your best behavior for the honored guest? All this and more are part of honoring Shabbos. Making it a day whose presence accompanies you. A holy day for you.
Klal Yisrael had reached the pinnacle of human existence. Standing before Hashem at Har Sinai, "k'ish ehad b'lev echad" (like one man with one heart) in perfect unity, they received the Torah. In order to make them fitting for this holy event, Hashem brought them to the spiritual level of Adam HaRishon before the Chet Eitz Hadaas (sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge). He removed the zuhama (spiritual dirt) from them and they became pure. Only 39 days later, they turned away from the Almighty, and served the Egel HaZahav (Golden Calf). What a terrible shame! How could they ever recover from such a grievous sin?
"Moshe assembled the entire congregation of the Children of Israel" (Shemos 35:1). The Arizal explains that this was their tikkun (correction) for the Chet Ha'egel. They had sinned by gathering together for an evil purpose, as the verse states, "The people congregated around Aharon and said to him, 'Arise, make us a god who will lead us'" (Shemos 32:1). Therefore, they must now gather together to rectify that sin. They sinned with the word "aileh" (these), as the verse states, "These are your gods, Yisrael" (Shemos 32:4). Now they must correct their sin with the word "aileh," as the verse states, "These are the things that The Eternal has commanded you to do" (Shemos 35:1). They sinned by accepting Avodah Zara (worship of a foreign god). This is likened to denying the entire Torah. Therefore, the repentance came via two mitzvos that are weighed against the entire Torah: Shabbos and Mishkan. As the verse states, "Work may be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be holy for you" (Shemos 35:2). Although they had fallen from a great height, they were able to come back. Moshe Rabbeinu showed them they way: realize their mistakes and correct them.
Kinderlach . . .
What a light of encouragement for us! The Jewish people were able to do teshuva from the Chet Ha'egel, one of the worst sins in history. When they corrected their ways, Hashem welcomed them back with open arms (so to speak). How much more so are we able to do teshuva from our aveyros. It just takes a realization of what we did wrong, and a firm resolve to correct it. When we succeed, with Hashem's help, we will also reach the level of having the Shechina (Divine Presence) dwell among us.
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