Sunday, November 12, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 16 - TThe Neshamah Yeseira, holiness and purity

From Shabbos: Taam HaChaim Devarim 5764. For more inspirational thoughts on Shabbos and other topics, please visit
In this week’s Haftorah, the Navi Yeshaya chastises the Jewish People regarding their observance of Shabbos. It is said: Bring your worthless meal-offering no longer, it is incense of abomination to Me. As for the New Moon and Shabbos, and your calling of convocations, I cannot abide mendacity with solemn assembly. My soul detests your New Moons and your appointed times; they have become a burden upon Me; I am weary of bearing them. The Vilna Gaon writes that the terms of condemnation that the Navi uses correspond to the verse further on where the Navi states: If you restrain your foot because it is the Shabbos; refrain from accomplishing your own deeds on My Holy day; if you proclaim the Shabbos ‘a delight’, and the holy day of Hashemhonored’, and you honor it by not engaging in your own affairs, from seeking your own needs or discussing the forbidden-then you will delight in HaShem etc.The Gaon writes that the essence of Shabbos is that it is Hashem’s day, and one should not indulge in pleasures on Shabbos for his own sake. The Gemara records that the Caesar asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananiah, “why is it that the Shabbos food has such a tantalizing aroma?” Rabbi Yehoshua responded, “We have a spice in the food called Shabbos and that is why the food has such an enticing fragrance. The Caesar requested that Rabbi Yehoshua provide him with this special spice. Rabbi Yehoshua replied that one who keeps the Shabbos benefits from the spice of Shabbos, and one who does not keep the Shabbos cannot benefit from the spice. The Gaon explains that only one who keeps the Shabbos merits holiness and purity. This holiness and purity is reflected in the Neshama Yeseira, the extra soul, which one earns when he honors the Shabbos for the sake of Shabbos. This idea is also expressed in the Tefillah of Shabbos where we say: those who delight in it will inherit eternal honor. It refers to the Neshama Yeseira. One must proclaim the Shabbos a delight, and by delighting in the Shabbos, he will earn an inheritance without parameters. Let this be the year when our observance of Shabbos for the sake of Shabbos allows us to merit the Final Redemption.


Anonymous said...

How could the Caesar smell its aroma if he could not keep Shabbos?

Anonymous said...

good question. it would seem that he could smell the Shabbos aroma from the food that was made by a Jew, whereas when he made the food, he was not capable of smelling the aroma of Shabbos. Thsi would be similar to the plague of blood in Egypt, where an Egyptian could only taste water if he paid the Jew for it.