Dvar Torah: Shabbos

Zalman left the small village of his youth, to seek his fortune in the big city. It was a very rough and lonely trek. The city can be a harsh place for a newcomer. The pace is much quicker and there is always someone out there looking to swindle you.

Zalman persevered and eventually became a very successful and wealthy businessman. One morning, Zalman while sitting in his office, glanced out his window and could not believe his eyes. It was Anshil, a craftsman from his hometown. Excitedly he dashed out to the street without even stopping to put on his coat. His secretary looked on in bewilderment. He ran, spurring himself on, caught up with Anshil and embraced him with exhilaration. Onlookers didn’t understand the commotion and emotion were about.

Zalman was truly overjoyed. Anshil explained that he came to the city to sell his wares and that he too was happy to see a familiar face. Zalman asked him how much profit he would make in one day. Anshil replied that he could expect on average to make eighty to a hundred rubles a day.

“In that case, spend the day with me and I will give you a hundred rubles right now to compensate you for your time,” said Zalman, “I am so anxious to hear what is going on back in the village. Please come with me right now to my home. My servants will prepare you a meal fit for a king.”

The two men were off to Zalman’s mansion and enjoyed a sumptuous feast. All the while, Zalman wished to inquire about the welfare of the village and its people; but he couldn’t quite interrupt Anshil from his hearty eating and drinking.

After the meal, Zalman said, “Now we can finally speak of our beloved village. Come; let us proceed to the sitting room so that we can shmooze. Make sure to give me every last detail.”

“That would be my great pleasure,” replied Anshil as he plopped himself down on a nice comfy sofa, “Ahh, I am so tired and weary, and this seat is so comfortable…”

Within a few moments, Anshil was fast asleep. Zalman was all but shut out.

At this point Zalman became enraged, he exclaimed, “The reason I paid and pampered you is so that you could talk to me. How dare you just eat and go to sleep on my time!”

It is the same thing with Shabbos. The Dubno Maggid explains that Hashem takes care of our needs and blesses us as we observe Shabbos. Shabbos is chetzi l’Hashem v’chetzi lachem (half for G-d and half for you). We enjoy fine delicacies and treats on Shabbos, we even sleep more; but this is not, can not, be all that Shabbos is about. Shabbos is not meant to simply be a vacation where we indulge ourselves with abandon.

Shabbos is a time to come close to Hashem through study, prayer and song. The joys and comforts of the day are not an end in themselves, but are designed to put us in a conducive frame of mind to be able to think about Hashem, Torah, and Mitzvos. Shabbos is not simply a time to relax, but a time to reflect.