Sanctifying The Shabbos As Befits It

Kol mekadeish shevi’i karu’i lo kol shomer Shabbos kados mechallelo—Whoever hallows the Shabbos as befits it, whoever safeguards the Shabbos properly from desecration. His reward is exceedingly great in accordance with his deed. Every man at his own camp, every man at his own banner.” (Zemiros Shabbos)

Shabbos is the source of the holiness of Bnei Yisroel. Whoever sanctifies the Shabbos, the Shabbos will uplift his soul and transport it to a world of glory and celestial splendor.

The sanctity of Shabbos affects the functioning of the Jew’s soul, and makes it possible for him to receive the holy emanations of splendor of the entire creation.

The Ramban, (Rabbeinu Moshe ben Nachman) comments on the following pasuk (Shemos 31:15), “And the seventh day is a day of complete rest, it is sacred to Hashem, since this is the foundation of the world…, That is why it says “He rested and was refreshed”, this is the neshomeh yesera.” The Ramban also writes (Shemos 20:11): “Therefore Hashem blessed the Shabbos day and sanctified it”, in that especially on this day the spirit can attain additional wisdom, more than on all the (other) days.”

“Whoever sanctifies the Shabbos as befits it,” that is to say, as befits such a hallowed, lofty, and exalted day. Whoever does not distract his attention from the holiness of the day and sanctifies it in everything he does, by his speech and thoughts; Such people are raised above to the highest level, and are worthy of receiving additional wisdom, according to the Ramban.

Not every person can reach this exalted level, of observing Shabbos to the manifest detail both of thought and speech. Bnei Yisroel were commanded to observe the Shabbos, and there is no difference between the great and the humble. So the zemer concludes: That everyone is commanded to observe the Shabbos on his own level, from the superior man who sanctifies the Shabbos in each precise detail as is expected of him, to the simple man who was not capable of reaching the lofty level, but “who safeguards the Shabbos properly and is careful not to desecrate it.” For each of them: “his reward is exceedingly great in according with his deed.”

There is a stipulation to all of this: Even if everyone will receive his reward in the next-world, the world of truth, it is impossible for everyone to dwell in the same province, but, “every man at his own camp and ever man at his own banner.” As Chazal say: (Shabbos 152a Midrash Shemos Rabba 52) Every righteous person is found in the paradise that he has prepared for himself, in accordance with his deeds in this world.

(Chafetz Chaim)