Remembering The Shabbat Perpetually

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Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik

by R. Aharon Ziegler

In the Aseret HaDibrot, GD asks us to “Zachor  Et Yom  HaShabbat” (Shemot 20:8) to remember the Shabbat and sanctify it. Rashi comments, that this applies not only on Shabbat, but rather, during the entire week. He cites the practice of Shammai the Elder, who, when he would come across a desirable item in the market place, would purchase it and set it aside for the coming Shabbat. The Ramban likewise writes that “we must remember the Shabbat every day and not forget it or supplant it with another day of the week”.  He, the Ramban cites the Mechilta which explains that Judaism didn’t assign names to the days of the week, but rather we refer to each day in relation to Shabbat. That is, Yom Rishon BeShabbat, Yom Sheini BeShabbat. We are to always be thinking about Shabbat, and counting towards its arrival.

Rav Soloveitchik  added that this is the reason why the word “zachor” , “remember”, is written not in the grammatical form of a command, which would imply a defined, one-time action, but rather it is the participle form, which implies a continuous and perpetual state. We are commanded to be constantly aware of Shabbat, that the entire week be filled with our love and longing for the most holy of days.

About Aharon Ziegler

Rabbi Aharon Ziegler is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Agudath Achim of Boro Park and the Dean and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Agudath Achim. He is the author of six volumes of Halakhic Positions of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

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