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March 12, 2015

Oneg Shabbos  

by Rabbi Dovid Felt

This weeks’ Parsha (Parshas Vayakhel) the Torah begins with the laws of keeping Shabbos. Following this the Torah continues with the intricacies of building the Mishkan. The Gemora questions the juxtaposition between Shabbos and the Mishkan and tells us that it is from the building of the Mishkan that we learn the laws of Shabbos. The 39 Melochos all have their source in the Mishkan. I would like to share a thought and highlight it with a story I recently read.

The Navi Yeshaya (Chapter 58 Verse 13) tells us that we have an obligation to “call the Shabbas a delight”. The commentaries use this Possuk to teach us about the many ways we are obligated to make Shabbos special. I would like to add another aspect to the enjoyment we need to feel on Shabbos.

Dovid Hamelech in Tehillim, Chapter 26 verse 8 tells us that the Mishkan is the home of Hashem in this world. Using the analogy of the Mishkan as our home and the juxtaposition of shabbos it would appear that we are obligated to make our home a delight specifically on Shabbos. The requirement to make Shabbos a delight in this context obligates us as parents to make Shabbos a delight for our spouses and for our children. Over the course of a regular week we generally find ourselves busy and occupied with work, running a household or for a lot of us, with both. This leaves us with not really having the time nor the peace of mind to give our children the attention due to them. Shabbos is the occasion for us to dedicate to our family. It is the perfect time to give our spouse and children the quality time they deserve and need.

A shailah was once brought to Rabbi Zilberstein a brother-in-law of R’ Chaim Kanievsky. The two parties were husband and wife. The husband wanted his wife to use disposable tableware for Shabbos. He felt that the amount of plates and cutlery used over Shabbos leaves his wife, who having prepared and served the family with shabbos delicacies, wiped out if she then had to wash them all up. His wife understanding the extra burden of using china felt it would not be honoring the Shabbos appropriately if she were to use disposable tableware. Citing a similar case brought to R’ Chaim and wanting to find some compromise Rabbi Zilberstein Paskened that they should use good quality disposable tableware. His reasoning was that if there is no “Oneg (delight)” Shabbos then there is no “Kovod (honor)” Shabbos. Ultimately, the focus on Shabbos has to be to make it enjoyable and a day to look forward to and it starts at home which is the Mishkan we have built for our family.

Felt Tips

Shabbos is our chance to spend time with our children, giving them the quality time they deserve and need. During an interview I had this week with prospective parents, the father of the young man we were interviewing asked if the school had an organized after-school learning program that his son could join. He expressed that he wanted his child to have the opportunity to learn with his peers outside of class, as he felt that would motivate his child to do well in class. I validated his request but shared with him that from my personal experience as well as my professional experience one of the most effective ways of getting a child to be motivated in class is for a father to learn with his child.

This does not mean you should “farher (test)” your son it means learn with him – let your son teach you the Gemora he is doing. Let him see your genuine interest in the Sugya he is learning at school with his Rebbi. Shabbos is the perfect opportunity to set time aside for this, especially now that the clocks have changed and we are beginning to have longer Shabbos afternoons.

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