Sunday, November 12, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 16 - Neshamah Yeseira, one step at a time

From Shabbos: Taam HaChaim Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5766. For more inspirational thoughts on Shabbos and other topics, please visit
In the Shabbos Zemiros of כל מקדש שביעי, we recite the words: פוסעים בו פסיעה קטנה, who walk on it with short strides. The Halacha is that one should not take long strides on the Shabbos, and even during the week one should not take long strides as taking long strides diminishes ones eyesight. One must wonder why this is so. It would seem that one should rush everywhere on Shabbos, as certainly one would only be rushing to study Torah, pray, or delight in the Shabbos. Is it possible that the Chachamim were concerned that one who rushes on Shabbos would rush to work or to perform forbidden labor? Perhaps we can suggest that the words פוסעים בו פסיעה קטנה alludes to the idea that although on Shabbos one receives a neshama yeseira, an extra soul, one should not think that it is simple to absorb all the holiness of the Shabbos day. Rather, one must proceed slowly, savoring the beauty and sanctity of the Shabbos prayers, the Torah one studies on Shabbos, and all of the Shabbos delights. For this reason the Shabbos prayers and meals are divided up throughout the day, as on Shabbos one proceeds from one level of sanctity to a higher level.