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A Rich Advancement

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 3/5/2020

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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)

A Rich Advancement

Shabbos is most coveted of all days and as we say in the Shemoneh Esrei of Shabbos חמדת הימים, most coveted of days. It is a day we must look forward to.[1] This is meant in שמור את יום השבת[2], to anticipate Shabbos, as שמור can mean to anticipate as in ואביו שמר את הדבר,[3] Yaakov looked forward to when it would come true. In a similar fashion, the Ohr Hachaim interprets ושמרו בני ישראל את השבת.[4] For this reason, we say every day (at the Yom) היום יום...בשבת.[5]  


The Gemara[6] tells us that in regard to bringing in Shabbos,כל כמה דמקדמינן ליה עדיף , the more we advance it the better, as it shows we cherish Shabbos. Indeed, we sing in Friday night Zemirosוממהרים לבא , rush to enter Shabbos. This shows Shabbos is beloved by him. The Shem Eliezer comments on ביום השבת ביום השבת יערכנו[7] that the two times it mentions יום השבת refers to Shabbos and Tosefes (adding onto) Shabbos. When we do this, יערכנו—it shows that we value Shabbos.


Among the benefits of observing Tosefes Shabbos is that it has the ability to increase our Parnassa.[8] This is measure for measure as since when one extends the boundary of Shabbos and narrowed the boundary of the weekday, Hashem extends his boundary and gives him more Parnassa, when he is in a narrow strait.[9]


In this way, R’ Menachem Mendel Riminover explained [10]עשה שבתך חול ואל תצטרך לבריות—we should make our Shabbos while it is still weekday, meaning Tosefes Shabbos. Then, as it continues ואל תצטרך לבריות—we won’t need to come onto people to ask them for Tzedaka.


Likewise, R’ Noach Lechivitzor would translate מאשר שמנה לחמו והוא יתן מעדני מלך, from Asher, his bread will have richness and he will provide kingly delicacies.[11] The letters that precede אשר spell שבת as before an א is ב, before a ש is a ת and before a ר is ש. This refers to Tosefes Shabbos. From this, as the Pasuk continues, one earns fat Parnassa—שמנה לחמו.[12] והוא refers to Shabbos itself where we will be rewarded in Gan Eden—יתן מעדני מלך.


Every moment of Tosefes Shabbos is valued by Hashem. To fulfill Tosefes Shabbos—as the Gemara says מוסיפין מחול על הקודש, add from the weekday onto the holy[13]—it has been recommended to accept Shabbos at least 10 minutes earlier than we normally would. In this way we can merit the many Brachos this affords.[14]

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] See Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 30:2. Concerning playing chess on Shabbos, R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah, 3:15:2) writes that really it is not forbidden if one gets pleasure from it. Still, it is surely better not to play because of ודבר דבר (See Shabbos 113). Also, sometimes the one who loses is upset and then it is surely forbidden (See also the Minchas Yitzchak 3:33:1 where he discourages chess).

[2] Devarim 5:12.

[3] Breishis 37:11.

[4] Shemos 31:16. We know that Shabbos is likened to עולם הבא, the world to come (see Brachos 57b). Just as עולם הבא is after one exits this world, says the Chidushai Harim, likewise Shabbos comes after one leaves the weekday completely.

[5] See Ramban Shemos 20:8. The Ibn Ezra (to Yeshaya 58:13) comments on וקראת לשבת עונג...ושתתענג הנפש בשמוע דברי תורה, …that you should delight in hearing words of Torah.

[6] Pesachim 105b.

[7] Vayikra 24:8. The simple meaning is that each and every Shabbos he should arrange the לחם הפנים.

[8] It has been said that “more than we keep Shabbos, Shabbos keeps us.”

[9] After many years of being childless, a couple was finally blessed with a child. However, their excitement soon faded as they were informed that the baby boy was born with a hole in his heart which was threatening his life. All the top doctors they went to didn’t help. The parents then traveled to the Chofetz Chaim. The grandson that was attending to the Chofetz Chaim told his grandfather the story of the infant boy with a hole in his heart and the danger the baby is facing. The Chofetz Chaim told them, “I don't know why you traveled so far to ask me for a Bracha as Shabbos is the source of Bracha. Accept upon yourself to start Shabbos a bit earlier, glorify the Shabbos a bit more than usual and you will receive the blessing you need from Shabbos itself (See Shabbos 12a).” The parents followed the advice and with Hashem's help the child was healed.

[10] Shabbos 118a. The simple translation is treat your Shabbos as a weekday rather than depend on people for aid.

[11] Breishis 49:20. This idea is also illustrated in ביומו תתן שכרו, on that day shall you pay his hire (Devarim 24:15), as its initials spell שבת.

[12] Adam Neumann, a Jewish billionaire who was raised secular, said the more he keeps Shabbos, the better his company does.

[13] Yoma 81b. See Orach Chaim 261:2. Incidentally, Shabbos is the holiest day—more than Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Just take a look at the punishments. For desecrating Yom Tov, one receives Malkus, lashes. For desecrating Yom Kippur, one gets Kares. However, for Shabbos desecration, one receives Kares and Sekila (death by stoning). 

[14] We should keep in mind that no one ever lost out from keeping the Torah or performing a Mitzva.

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