By: Steve Kirschenbaum
At the beginning of the Parsha, G-d introduces us to the importance of the Mitzva of Shabbos. The Chofetz Chaim tells us that the Chumash mentions Shabbos 12 times. The Ramban teaches that which G-d repeats even once in the Torah, He is emphasizing the importance and significance of that topic. In Ki Sisa, it says Sheishes Yamim Yei’aseh Melacha U’va’yom HaShevii Shabbos Shabbason Kodesh LaHashem. The Sefer Teshuos Chen, one of the disciples of the Besht, writes that Shabbason Kodesh LaHashem is Roshei Teivos, ‘Shekel.’ The Inyan of the Shekel used throughout the week is connected to the Inyan of Shabbos. We see the opposite of this as well. Earlier, it says ‘Ki Sisa Es Rosh Bnei Yisrael Lefkudeihem,’ when you take count, when you lift up the heads of Klal Yisrael, meaning when you take a census of the Jewish people, G-d gives Moshe a very specific way to count Klal Yisrael. Don’t count them by heads, rather count by collecting a half-Shekel, a Shekel HaKodesh. We see a hint to Shabbos. The Sfas Emes quoting the Chidushei HaRim asks why is the Lashon ‘Rosh’ used in this Pasuk? If you elevate the head (singular) of Klal Yisrael, why not state the heads (plural)? Says the Chidushei HaRim, read the Pasuk literally: if you lift up the Rosh – if you lift up the letter Raish, it becomes a Shin (the next letter). If you lift up the Alef, it becomes a Beis; lift up the Shin, it becomes a Sof. So, Ki Sisa Es Rosh, it becomes Shin Beis Sof — Shabbos. So, there’s a connection between Shabbos and Shekalim; a Pasuk about Shekalim alludes to Shabbos and Pasuk about Shekalim alludes to Shabbos.
Further, Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos LeKadsho; this is the second of the six Zechiros mentioned in the Chumash chronologically. Rashi explains that Zachor as opposed to Zechor, is a Lashon Paol, like Achol Ve’shaso, to keep eating and drinking until eventually, you run out of life. Achol Ve’shaso and Zachor mean to do something continuously. Zachor here isn’t Zechor; Zachor means an ongoing process with a constant and continued awareness of Shabbos. The Gemara Beitza 16a states that a person is to constantly live with Shabbos. Shammai’s opinion is that every time he went to the marketplace, he would find a nice item and would set it aside for Shabbos; if he later found a second item nicer than the first, he would eat the first and set the second item aside for Shabbos. He was constantly living for Shabbos. So, Rashi says Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos LeKadsho isn’t like remembering Amalek, a once-a-year obligation; it’s stated as Zachor, to constantly be remembering. Wherever we go throughout the course of the week, our approach is in the context of Shabbos. Hillel had a different practice; even though we Pasken like Hillel, we see that Rashi still quotes the opinion of Shammai. The Ramban refers to Shammai’s practice as a Midas Chassidus. To continuously think in terms of Shabbos.
The Ohr HaChaim comments that the Pasuk should read ‘Ki Be’sheishes Yamim Asah Hashem,’ over the course of 6 days G-d created the world. What does it mean ‘Ki Sheishes Yamim Asah Hashem Ees HaShamayim VeEs HaAretz?’ The Ohr HaChaim imparts a Yesod as to how the world works. G-d created the world with enough energy to last 6 days. By Friday afternoon, the world was ready to collapse and revert to Tohu VaVohu, nothingness. Reb Tzaddok writes in Kedushas Shabbos that the days of the week are referred to as ‘Yemos HaChol,’ from the word Choleh, sickness. The sickness compounds itself as we go through the week and the world is ready to collapse, until Shabbos comes along and breathes new life into the world. The six days of the week need Shabbos to survive. This allows the world to be Mamshich, to continue on for another week. G-d imbues new life into the world through Shabbos.
What are we saying when we say ‘Hayom Yom Rishon B’Shabbos?’ In what sense is Sunday or Monday connected to Shabbos? We feel connected to Shabbos because if not for Shabbos, there wouldn’t be a Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.; Shabbos revitalizes the world and gives it a new Chiyus. Therefore, every day of the week feels a sense of gratitude for Shabbos. Shabbos is the source of life, the Nefesh HaOlam, that enables the world to sustain itself and exist another week.
How does Shabbos provide us with that Chizuk during the mundane existence of the Yemos HaChol? The Shem MiShmuel in Yisro explains to maintain a proper outlook on life by pausing for a moment at the start of the weekday and say HaYom Yom Rishon/Sheini/Shlishi B’Shabbos, etc.; we remind ourselves today is a weekday, but Shabbos is coming. We recall those moments in which we’re more spiritually connected. On Shabbos, every Jew has an Aliya according to his level; he feels the awe of Shabbos. This gives him new strength during the 6 days of the week to go another day. This is the Zachor, the constant awareness of Shabbos.