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Shabbat is the day to Relax and Be Happy

by Rabbi Avi Matmon

 Rabbi Simcha Bunim (1767-1826) was a beloved Chassidic Rabbi whose many disciples would flock to be with their Rebbi. They would see him during the week or make arrangements to spend a Shabbat with him. One such devoted chassid, a very bitter and critical individual, traveled to see Rabbi Simcha but he arrived after Shabbat was over. When the Rebbi asked where he had been, he replied with an attitude that he had actually been detained so many times that he had to spend Shabbat elsewhere. The Rebbi listened to this harsh man's story and told him the following: "Shabbat is actually a very kind and gracious host and it treats its guests with dignity. For example, when Rosh Chodesh (1st day of the New moon) comes on Shabbat, Shabbat is kind enough to give up both the regular reading of the MAFTIR (Torah portion) and the MUSAF prayers to its guest - Rosh Chodesh. When YOM TOV (holiday) occurs with all its joy and splendor, Shabbat not only steps aside for the reading of the MAFTIR and its recitation of MUSSAF, it also gives a way for the reading of the Torah itself.

When Yom Kippur comes and brings with it the wonderful opportunities of pardon and forgiveness, not only does Shabbat give a way to the Mussaf prayer and Torah reading, but even the Shabbat meals themselves are set aside in Yom Kippur's honor. However, when the somber Tisha Be Av with its unwelcome sadness and depression tries to come on Shabbat, a different attitude prevails. The Shabbat says: "No, you wait and come after Shabbat!! Perhaps you're not making it here this Shabbat is a message from above! Unhappiness, and those who bring it are not welcome until the joy of Shabbat is over. Change your ways and Shabbat will welcome you as well!"

Rabbi Yehuda - the prince, who was the author of the MISHNA, happened to be good friends with Mark Anthony, the Roman High in command. One Friday night Anthony made a spontaneous surprise visit to Rav Yehuda. Rav Yehuda said: "Please, come, join me for Shabbat dinner". Anthony was amazed and delighted at the delicious soup that he had at the meal. He asked Rav Yehuda: "This is the most delicious soup I had ever tasted. What's the recipe?

Rav Yehuda replied: "If you'd like - my chefs will give over to your chefs the recipe after Shabbat".

After Shabbat Rav Yehuda's chefs did exactly as instructed. Six Months later, though, Mark Anthony visited Rav Yehuda, however he was very cold and distant. Rav Yehuda asked: "What's wrong?" Anthony replied: "I could not duplicate the delicious taste of the soup. Even though my chefs duplicated the exact instructions, it didn't come out the same. What was the missing ingredient?" He was almost demanding!

Rav Yehuda smiled and said: "The missing ingredient is Shabbat!"

Let's try to understand - why we should be happy on Shabbat and what is so special about the foods. The Torah says -SHABBAT VAYINAFASH. Shabbat means to return! Where are we returning to? We are returning to the ROOTS! What is the meaning of the ROOTS? At the Roots - WE ARE UNITED WITH OTHER SOULS!

What does the word - VAYINAFASH mean? VAYINAFASH means - to REVIVE! We revive - what is important in life!

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