Properly Preparing for Shabbos
Shabbos morning before dawn, seventh of Sivan, 2448 from the Creation of the world. The whole Creation rose to hear the voices and the thunder, while in Sinai desert Moshe Rabbeinu went out and aroused Am Yisroel to come to the foot of the mountain and participate in the loftiest event in human history since the Creation of the world until this very day.
This situation didn’t happen suddenly nor did we merit it in a moment. We are not referring to the immense merit the sacred avos accorded us, nor to the “iron furnace” of Egypt, which purified us on our way to receiving the Torah. We are referring to the 49 days of the seifra, and the longing for our “wedding day,” wich until Rosh Chodesh Sivan all arrived at Har Sinai to hear the declaration which was made there of: “And you shall be a kingdom of priests and a sacred Nation.”
Every day, Moshe Rabbeinu went up the mountain and received clear instructions from the Hashem how to prepare Bnei Yisroel for the longed-for day and for how to sanctify and purify themselves. Bnei Israel prepared themselves with reverence for three days for the Giving of the Torah.
It would stand to reason that on the final day, Friday, they would have elevated themselves even more, and have done additional things to sanctify and purify themselves for the forthcoming awesome event. But that didn’t happen.
The Gemara says that on that Friday, Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t have time to perform any special act, and didn’t go up to the mountain or do any deed which would highlight the Receiving of the Torah.
Why didn’t Moshe Rabbeinu have time? The Gemara explains: “mishum torach haShabbos – due to the work preparations for Shabbos.”
This is amazing! If every day, Bnei Yisroel could sanctify themselves to manifest their purification, they could surely have been able to do so on the last day? By an additional ascent on that day, Moshe could have propelled them higher for the event of Receiving the Torah. But at that time all were busy with preparations for Shabbos Kodesh, They had to bake the manna and to cook it in honor of Shabbos.
What does all this mean? During those days, we were involved in the unusual spiritual activity, in which we climbed to the greatest spiritual heights. After 49 days of such climbing, Moshe Rabbeinu could have brought them even further to the event which sustains all of the worlds.
But Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t climb the mountain that Friday. At that moment everyone was involved in preparations for Shabbos such as cooking, baking and preparing the manna for Shabbos.
We would think that after 49 days of preparation, longing and counting and that after three days of intensive purification, we would be far and above small things such as cooking and baking manna and making other physical preparations for Shabbos too?
But the Torah reveals precisely the opposite. True, we have reached great heights. We have merited crowns and the resting of the Shechina in all its glory on each and every one of us. But now we have to prepare Shabbos Now we must concentrate only on that!
How does this pertain to us in this day and age? We are living in a world filled with gashmiyus and materialism. We are surrounded by all sorts of headaches and problems. But when Shabbos arrives, we must take a break from all of our various involvements and simply ready ourselves for Shabbos, and prepare our Shabbos needs.