Wednesday, February 27, 2008

PP2P #2 [Special Double Digest!] - Va'Yakhel

C'mon Fhqwhgads, I see you jocking me...

I have returned! I am the grandest (guest)blogger in all the land! I come bearing Parsha Points...

In the beginning of the sedra it states [Exodus 35:2]:

שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן, לַיהוָה; כָּל-הָעֹשֶׂה בוֹ מְלָאכָה, יוּמָת

Malbim points out an interesting textual anomaly. All references to festivals (e.g. מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם) are stated as holy to YOU, Israel, whereas all references to Sabbath are holy to G-D, as we see in the above verse. Why is that? Malbim gives a slightly "lomdish" answer, since festivals are dependent on the calendar, as affixed by Bes Din, their holiness, in essence derives from the actions of Israel. Sabbath, on the other hand, having no such requirements is automatically made holy by G-D; hence the differences in the text.

I would humbly like to expand on this in an eminently practical fashion, which I feel is intrinsic to the above explanation, that is that the festivals derive their significance from history, namely the history of Israel. Were it not for Israel would Passover, Sukkos, etc. have any meaning? Sabbath, however, derives its sanctity from G-D's acts of creation and subsequent rest; therefore, in a manner of speaking while Sabbath is important TO us, it would theoretically retain its spiritual/cosmic significance WITHOUT us, as well.

Additional item for consideration:

וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה, אֶת-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם: אֵלֶּה, הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָה, לַעֲשֹׂת אֹתָם

Moshe tells Israel that the following are things G-D has commanded them to DO. What follows is a list of things to NOT DO (labor on Sabbath, fire on Sabbath). What's p'shat?
[Malbim suggests that since they were commanded to labor on the Mishkan, the prohibition of continuing that labor on Sabbath had to be integrated into the previous commandment to DO (i.e. "Six days you shall labor...). If that were the case, how does that explain the presence of the additional negative command of making fire on Sabbath? Either they are both negative commands or the second one shouldn't be there, seemingly.]