"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shabbos is not a day of rest!

The Rebbe Rashab writes:
In general, one should take great care with one’s time on the holy Shabbos to use it for Torah study, and not to turn to turn to foolish matters, G–d forbid. Even during the weekdays one should be careful to avoid this, but to a far greater extent on the holy Shabbos, for the day is holy, dedicated for Hashem our G–d. It was granted to the Jewish people so that they be satiated with and enjoy His goodness. Going for a stroll on the holy Shabbos is completely undesirable. We do not find that anything was permitted on this day other than sleeping a bit more than every day, and enjoying the day through [additional] food and drink.

However, this is provided that one’s intention is to honor the Shabbos. This means that one should feel that this is being done for the honor of Shabbos, and the Shabbos is not a day of rest of Shabbos, i.e., a sense of submission to Shabbos, should rest upon the person. ... However, idling away the time on Shabbos with foolish matters, G–d forbid, is a great sin, may G–d save us. It is especially objectionable to go for a stroll on Shabbos, for then everyone goes for a stroll, [and one will inevitably see women while strolling], and one will not emerge clean from evil, G–d forbid.

Kuntres Etz Chayim, p. 53.
Shabbos is an immensely holy time. Of course one should be happy and enjoy the day, but this happiness and pleasure should be permeated with a sense of deep reverence and love of Hashem that extends to everything one does on this day.

Thus, Shabbos is not a day of rest in the way it is normally understood—a time to take life easy. Indeed, it is a time when one can relax in the sense that he is exempted from his mundane worries. However, the purpose of this exemption is to free up time so that one can devote himself to spiritual pursuits. Shabbos is a day in which one should exert strenuous effort—if anything, even more effort than during the week—but in Tefillah and Torah study.

With this in light, the idea of spending one’s time on Shabbos discussing politics (whether community, state, or federal), current events, or the like, becomes completely repugnant. What a desecration and disgrace it is to indulge in such talk on Shabbos.

Let us go on a Shabbos campaign—a campaign not just to keep the technical laws of Shabbos (which is also necessary), but also to live with the spirit of Shabbos.


  1. When I asked someone about this quote from K"ECh, the person answered me: “Rebbe Rashab was talking to the bochrim of his yeshiva, not to everyone.” To me the answer seemed strange, but what do I know?


  2. Everyone needs to devote Shabbos to Hashem, not just bochrim. The language implies that the Rebbe Rashab is speaking about the holiness of Shabbos in general (e.g., "We do not find that anything was permitted on this day other than ... " is not a specific statement concerning one group of people). And married people should also protect their eyes by avoiding such strolls. Moreover, the demands here are minuscule when compared to the intense demands in avoda written in Tanya--is that sefer then also only for bochrim (ch"v)?

  3. All I can say is how sad this truly is. We have lost the essence of the Torah. We cannot see the forest for the trees.


  4. Someone sent me the following message:

    Since Talmud Torah is kneged Kulam, and love your neighbor is the entire Torah, and one's wife is his closest neighbor, then shalom bayis should be kneged kulam. It would seem then, that a stroll with one's wife is most desireable.

    My response:

    Read it again. It doesn't say that one should never go on a stroll with one's wife. Rather, it says 1) not to do so on Shabbos, which should be dedicated to Torah and Tefillah (aside from slightly more sleeping and mealtimes, as mentioned); 2) not to do so when other women are around, which is typically the case on Shabbos afternoon when everyone is strolling with their wives.

    So by all means, stroll with your wife--but only at a time other than Shabbos and in a place that doesn't present a challenge for shemiras ho'einayim.


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