By Rabbi Eldad Zamir
Former shaliach TMT Cape Town 1997 -1998,
Senior Instructor at the Nativ ’Giyur” program in the IDF
In this week’s parasha we once again, find the commandment of keeping the Shabbat. In the last verse we read: Et Shabtotai Tishmoru U’mikdashi tirau’ ani Hashem – the Sabbaths you shall keep and my Temple you shall fear, I am G-d.
There was once a rich man who had three children that were sick with an unknown disease. Since money was not a problem, the father hired an outstanding physician to stay with him in his home and devote his time and skills to finding a cure for the strange illness that had attacked his children. Eventually, after much effort, the doctor was able to devise a new remedy which brought about a miraculous improvement in the condition of the children. The happy father did everything in his power to show the skilled physician his gratitude and appreciation for helping his children.
Unfortunately, this happy state did not last long. The children again became seriously ill. Once again the doctor was able to find a drug that would ease their suffering. The only trouble was that the children refused to take it and their condition grew worse. The father got upset and every time he saw the doctor he glared at him with great anger and hatred.
One day the physician no longer could hold himself back, so he asked the father: “Why are you angry with me? It’s not my fault that your children refuse to take the one medicine that can cure them.”
The worried father replied: “Doctor, I am not angry at you. it’s just that every time I see you I think how unfortunate this whole situation is. If only no doctor and no medicine could have helped my children, I would have accepted their illness and be thankful that it is not worse. But, here I have you taking care of my children and preparing wonderful drug which could help my children. Yet, they disobey me and do not take it – my frustration is more than I can bear.
We, too, must remember and learn from this parable. We are the children of Israel, the children of G-d and the Shabbat is “the drug” – the healer that can restore our spirit, if only we use it and keep it as directed.
Instead, many of us are like the stubborn children in the story, who refuse to take the one medicine that can heal them. We waste our Shabbat by not doing what Hashem commanded us to do. G-d therefore becomes angry at us.
Shabbat is mentioned many times in the Torah because it is important and a good form of “medicine” that can help us get through the week days.
With G-d’s help we shall use this medication correctly.
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