Category Archives: HaShoavah Blog

To Strengthen Judah. 2 Chronicles 11:17

I would like to submit this letter as a written record of my testimony concerning my return to Judaism. In 2001 September 11, 2001, I Gavriel ben David had a bat kol that instructed me to live as a Jew.

My ardent background consisted of first being raised in a Baptist church by my great-grandmother on my father’s side by Pennsylvania Upchurch and I later became an Altar Boy at the age of seven years of age at St. Martin’s Catholic Church where I served as an altar boy for 11 years. While in the military I had changed my faith to non-denominational and contemplated myself no longer a Catholic. In 1988 I was baptized at Buchanan Baptist Church and attended there for several months. Because of a doctrinal discrepancy, I immediately left and started going to a non-denominational church from 1988 to 2001, Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo Texas.

On September 11, 2001, an incredible change happened in my life, I was called to live as a Jew. I knew nothing of Judaism or what it meant to be Jewish, but I begin my pursuit to as- certain what it meant to be Jewish. One of the things I knew was Jews did not eat pork, and so, I immediately stopped eating and removed all foods from my diet that was declared unclean and was prohibited by the Bible. I also knew that Jews did not celebrate Christmas and in 2001, I stop celebrating Christmas.At that time in my life, things were very difficult within my family because of my wife, Christian herself, did not agree with my termination of Christmas.

This was a very difficult time for me in my life when I felt very alone and alienated from the world. In my prayers, I asked God, if I were crazy and was I doing what he wanted me to do. The very first Shabbat I celebrated was Parsha Miektz. The story of Joseph recognizing his brothers overwhelmed my heart, and I could not consummate reading the story because of the tears that flowed from eyes. I asked my wife to keep Shabbat with me that day, and it was then that my wife’s heart was touched and she began to see that I was very sincere and determined to do what God had asked me to do.

It was not long after this that while my daughter was in the hospital and the question still on my mind about me imagining all these things happening in my life and questioning my own sanity that I discovered a book while out getting a gift for my daughter. Mixed among books on music again God spoke to me and there was a book called my Journey to Jewish Orthodoxy by David Klinghoffer “The Lord Will Gather Me In” as I began to read the book my heart was touched and I had received my answer; I was doing what God wanted me to do.

It was in March of 2002 that I began preparing for Passover when my mother asked me about what I was doing. I informed her that I was preparing for Passover, and this was how Jews prepared by cleaning all the drawers in the kitchen and behind the furniture and re- moving the leaven from the house. My mother, with a strange look on her face, told me that every year about this time her mother had all the children remove everything out of the house and clean it. She said jokingly, “I thought she was punishing us.” I pondered what my mother had said about my grandmother and her doing the same thing that I was now doing.

Several weeks had passed since that incident with my mother, and we invited her to celebrate Shabbat with us. My mother joined us for Shabbat and my wife prepared herself to light the candles by covering her head with a scarf and began to light the candles. Lisa and I then called our three children to kneel before us so that we could bless them as we welcomed the Shabbat, and it was then that my mother began to cry. Lisa and I were confused and did not know why my mother was crying. I asked my mother, “What is wrong”? And her words change my life forever. My mother said to me,“Thank you, Junior, and I asked her,“thank me for what”? And my mother answered, “for letting me know whom I am” she said,“ I knew we weren’t Catholic, we did not do Catholic things.” My mother told me that every Friday night her mother would close the curtains and light candles and bless the kids, and she never knew why her mother did those things.

Since September 11, 2001, I have been trying to find proof of my Jewishness and at this time I have no legitimate proof outside my DNA and the testimony of my uncle’s and aunt and my mother Lorina Diaz concerning these traditions of lighting candles on Friday night and, also, the lighting of the Hanukkah candles. I do have relatives that have said we are Jewish through oral tradition. Also, I have a fourth cousin that is a Cohen with a family genealogy and history. I am writing this letter as a record of the Jewish people and to my own family of the journey that I have been on for these 15 years of my life. On January 12, 2017, I received the results of my uncle Yosef Diaz’s DNA test and I discovered that he was a Cohen match by the Jewish DNA group This would make my grandfather Luz Diaz a Cohen and confirm the oral tradition of my family and our history.

I am convinced in my heart and my soul bears witness that I am connected to a land called Israel and to the Jewish people.  My grandfather was Luz Ramirez Diaz and this is my uncle’s DNA.

Sincerely yours,
Gavriel Ben David.

In The School of the Prophets

In The School of the Prophets

Isaiah 63:8-16 + 65:9        By: Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggai

As usual, our Prophetic Lesson for this Sabbath in the Hebrew text extends along two Petuchot (Closed Paragraphs) –the first starting in Isaiah 61:10 and concluding at Isaiah 64:11(with section breaks at 62:9 and ;12 ;63:6 and ,)64:2 and the next Petucha (Closed Paragraph) starts in Isaiah 65:1 until verse 12(with a section brake at .)65:7 However, our Sages full of compassion for the congregation stipulated that for public reading from the Teba (pulpit) we only read from the Prophets ten verses (Isaiah 63:8-16 + .)65:12 This of course, does not limit the preacher to refer or use in the course of his homily (sermon) from Isaiah 61:10 through to .65:12

This also brings the point that Archbishop Stephen Langton and Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro developed different schemas for the systematic division of the Bible into chapters and verses in the early 13th century (for the so called Old Testament) and Robert Estienne in 16th century (for the so called New Testament). Both the Hebrew Scriptures and the earliest manuscripts of the Nazarean Codicil did not have verse divisions, and the only divisions they have is that of Closed Paragraphs (Heb. Petuchot) and Sections (Heb. Setumot) within those paragraphs. 17

Again, since the first Petucha (Paragraph) is rather long we have limited ourselves only to comment from Isaiah -63:1 ,65:12otherwise this commentary would be too long and tiresome. I think that in this respect I learned from my mentors well.

The verbal tally between our Torah Seder and Ashlamatah (Prophetic Lesson) is as follows:

Debarim (Deuteronomy) 14:1 ָּבִניםַאֶּתם,ַליהָּוהֱאֹלֵהיֶּכם:לֹאִתְתֹגְדדּו,ְולֹא-ָּתִשימּוָּקְרָּחהֵביןֵעיֵניֶּכם–ָּלֵמת.

You are children of the LORD your God: you will not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.

Isaiah 63:8

ְלמֹוִשיַע ָּלֶּהם, ָּבִניםלֹאְיַשֵקרּו;ַוְיִהי ֵהָּמה, ַאְך-ַעִמיַויֹאֶּמר “For He said: ‘Surely, they are My people, children that will not deal falsely’; so He was their Savior.”

The term “children” (Heb. Banim), does not only refer to young human beings but also it refers to “progeny” irrespective of age, as in this instance. Ha-Shem speaks to the Jewish people and their proselytes and says –“You are My progeny.” This raises a very important question: Are not all human beings “progeny” of the LORD our God? To answer this question, we need to realize that the above texts were written in Biblical Hebrew, and as such, when translated to English they loose much of their original meaning.

We can with some difficulty still see the shadow of the meaning of these verses in Hebrew. Notice that the first clauses in both verses are in the present continuous tense –an eternal present. Since G-d is Eternal then his progeny will enjoy eternal life. However if his progeny rebels and/or apostatize then that progeny is only temporal. Accordingly Isaiah 63:8 says

Note that our verbal tally equates “the children of the Eternal One” with “My People (Israel)”; and with “children who will not deal falsely”; and with “God is their Savior.” That is, those who do not know G-d –i.e. those who do not have a permanent and regular connection to/with Him, and those who are not part of the Jewish people observing and guarding His commandments, whether by birth or adoption cannot have G-d, most blessed be He, as their Savior.

And since “G-d is their Savior,” it follows that they are continuously released from “the law of sin and death”


footnote: 17Cf.

(propensity to habitually commit sin which leads to spiritual death).18 And as it is written in Debarim (Deuteronomy) 15:1 – “At the end of seven years you will make a release”; and as Hakham Shaul states (in Romans 8:35-39):

“35Who will separate us from the love of G-d in Messiah King Yeshua [and in God’s Torah/Law]? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword do it? 36As it is written (Psalm 44:23): ‘No, but for Your sake are we killed all the day; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him (i.e. G-d) that loves us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Messiah King Yeshua our Master [and in G-d’s Torah/Law].”

And as the Psalmist, Messiah King David most elegantly puts it this week:

Psalm 119:113. I hate those who think vain thoughts, but I have loved [or, I continuously love] Your Torah/Law.
Psalm 119:114. You are my hiding place and my shield; I have waited long for Your Word.
Psalm 119:115. Turn from me, evildoers; and I will keep the commandments of my God.

And this is the remarkable noted difference between those that genuinely love G-d, His Law, and their fellow Jewish people versus those that despise G-d, His Law, and His people the Jews, Whilst the former do whatever possible to release their fellowmen from bondage (slavery) to sin and death, negativity, vain thoughts, mediocrity, rudeness, stinginess, dealing falsely, and injustice; the later bind (enslave) their fellowmen to all of these evils. Consequently, despite our many faults, how pleasant, how beautiful, invigorating and refreshing it is to dwell with the brethren – “for there (i.e. where the brethren dwell together and in unity) the LORD commands the blessing, even eternal life!”19

Now, Isaiah 63:8 is not a verse that stands alone, but its contents continue in the next verse, so that we read:



8. And He said, “They are but My people, children who will not deal falsely.” And He became their Savior.

8. For he said, Surely they are My people, sons who will not deal falsely; and His Memra became their Savior.

9. In all their trouble, He did not trouble [them], and the angel of His presence saved them; with His love and with His pity He redeemed them, and He bore them, and He carried them all the days of old.

9. In every time that they sinned before Him so as to bring affliction upon themselves, He did not afflict them, an angel sent from Him saved them; in His love and in His pity upon them He delivered them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

Note that in verse 8, “G-d becomes our Saviour,” and then in v.9 it is stated that “the angel of His presence saves us.” How can this be reconciled? Rashi, therefore comments on v.9 –

“He did not trouble [them] He did not trouble them according to their deeds, that they deserved to suffer, for the angel of His presence i.e., Michael the prince of the Presence, of those who minister before Him saved them always as an agent of the Omnipresent.”

From this, we learn the principle of agency – i.e. that the agent is as the one who sent him. If for example, you do something good to anyone or to the world at large as an agent of G-d, most blessed be He, it is accounted as G-d doing it, and not you. Thus, most certainly Messiah King Yeshua does bring salvation and release, but he is only a faithful agent of G-d, therefore we like David profess: “G-d has become our Saviour!” This, in no way means that Messiah King Yeshua is a god, no! G-d forbid! He is simply an agent of G-d like all of our Sages and heavenly ministers.

This, again we find in our Pericope of Mark for this week, where we find Pilate as an agent of Rome releasing a murderer and condemning to death a Tsadiq (righteous/generous man) and the King of Israel. This is Gentile Justice, and therefore the command that we do not recourse among the brethren to Gentile courts of justice in order to solve legal problems amongst us. And so Hakham Shaul teaches:

1Co 6:5I say this to your shame. So is there not any wise man (Hebrew: Hakham/Rabbi) among you who is able to render a judgment between his brothers?
1Co 6:6But brother goes to court with brother, and this before unbelievers [unfaithful men to the Torah]!

And this is in accordance with Rashi’s commentary on Exodus 21:1where he states:

before them But not before gentiles. Even if you know that they [gentiles] judge a certain law similarly to the laws of Israel, do not bring it to their courts,

as it is said: “For not like our Rock [God] is their rock, but [yet] our enemies judge [us]” (Deut. .)32:31When [we let] our enemies judge [us], this is testimony to [our] esteem of their deity.- [From Tanchuma ]3

Thus, the Hakham/Rabbi that renders judgments based on the Commandments of G-d, among the congregation of the people of G-d act as “saviours”20 since they render this service on behalf of G-d as agents of G-d, most blessed be He, to the end that “G-d becomes our Saviour!”

18 Cf Romans 8:2 – “For the law of the Spirit of life (i.e. the Jewish Oral Torah) in Yeshua King Messiah has made me free from the law of sin and death (i.e. propensity to habitually commit sin which leads to spiritual death).”

19 Cf. Psalm 133:1ff.

Elul – A Refuge In Time By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 Similarly, in regard to the cities of refuge, it is stated [Devarim 19:8-9], “When G-d will expand your borders… you shall add three more cities.” This command has never been fulfilled. [Surely,] G-d did not give this command in vain, [and thus the intent was that it be fulfilled after the coming of Moshiach]. There is no need to cite prooftexts on the concept [of the Moshiach] from the words of the prophets, for all [their] books are filled with it.

Elul – A Refuge In Time 

Septennial (Shmita – שמיטה) Torah Cycle By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

Septennial (Shmita – שמיטה) Torah Cycle By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

“The object of the whole Torah is that man should become a Torah himself.”[1]

“Every living soul is a letter of the Torah, wherefore all souls taken together make up the Torah.”[2]

The Triennial Torah cycle is a miraculous way of  reading the Torah, in three and a half year, that provides a prophetic insight into the events that will happen during the week that it is read!

The Septennial (Shmita) Torah cycle is twothree and a half year periods. This seven year Torah reading schedule matches the Sabbatical cycle described in the Torah.[3]



The Art of Seeing. The Month of Tammuz.

Our Rabbi’s  have trained us to see around corners. To be a Jew one must have the ability to see what no one else can see. A Jew must take the broken pieces of this world and put them back together. It is in the darkness that the Jewish people shine.

The month of Tammuz  is the month of seeing.  Seeing is a very dangerous thing if one does not understand how to see.  for the non-Jewish world everything in this month may seem to be chaotic and disastrous.  For the Jew whose eyes are trained there is clarity both in seeing and hearing. This is a very dangerous month for the Jewish people. It is in this month that our eyes are sharpened  and our site is perfected.

I’m calling all Jews to intensify their prayers during this time of war in Israel. If you are a Jew  who has not been connected to his Jewish heritage and the Jewish people, it is a time for you to return Klal Yisrael.   The whole world at this time  is turning its attention to the land of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people. The Jewish people at this time needs every Jewish soul to join Klal Yisrael and to stand with her as her light stands against and in the darkness.
May Hashem protects our soldiers as they fight for freedom to live without rockets being rained down upon us every day. May the Guardian of Israel, protect the remnants of Israel and let them not be destroyed, for those who say, Shema Israel.


Nazarean Codicil Colossians 2:16-23

.16Therefore let no one [who is a Gentile] but the body of Messiah (the Jewish people) pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a New Moon or a Sabbath.
.17For these are a shadow (prophecies) of things yet to come.
.18Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of messengers (i.e. the sun and the moon), going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, .19and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.20 If with Messiah you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to [pagan] regulations–.21″Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”.22(referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings?.23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.


The Month of Tammuz
According to The Book of Formation (Sefer Yetzirah)

According to Sefer Yetzirah, to each month of the Jewish calendar there corresponds a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, a zodiac sign, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, a sense, and a controlling limb of the body.

Tamuz is the fourth of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar.

The month of Tamuz begins the “season” (tekufah) of the summer. The three months of this season, Tamuz, Av and Elul, correspond to the three tribes of the camp of Reuben–Reuben, Simeon and Gad–who were situated to the south).

Tamuz is the month of the sin of the golden calf, which resulted in the breaking of the Tablets. On that very day, the 17th of Tamuz, begins the three week period (ending on the 9th of Av) which commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

This is the month that the spies sent by Moses traveled through the land of Israel to see it and report to the people. (They returned on the eve of the 9th of Av).

Letter: Chet )ח(

The form of the letter chet is composed of the two previous letters of the Hebrew alef-bet, the vav and the zayin (corresponding to the two previous months of Iyar and Sivan) connected from above by a thin “bridge.” In relation to the sense of sight, the form of the chet represents the dynamic of spiritual light being emitted from the eyes (the vav) and physical light returning from the object observed, to the eyes (the zayin).

The word Tamuz reads in Hebrew: “tam”–”connect together,” “consummate”–vav zayin -the two letters that together form the chet.

Mazal: Cancer

One of the meanings of the root of sartan, seret, is a visual “strip,” in general, or (as in modern Hebrew) a “film”

The spiritual sense of sight of Tamuz is the ability to “see through” physical reality to behold its Divine source. In accordance with this thought, the word sartan is understood as being composed of two words–sar tan–which literally reads: “remove the body” (in order to reveal the soul), i.e. remove the outer “shell” of reality (by means of the power of concentrated sight) in order to reveal reality’s inner “fruit” and life-force.

Tribe: Reuben

The name Reuben comes from the root “to see,” the sense of Tamuz.
The precious stone of Reuben in the breast-plate of the high priest is the odem, the ruby (from Reuben), which due

to its brilliant red color (odem means red) is the most sensually visible of the stones.

Red is the most seductive of all colors, implying either the fall of man (in Hebrew odem [red] has the same spelling as adam [man]), as in the sin of the golden calf, or the ultimate rise and rectification of man, with the coming of Mashiach.

Sense: Sight

The summer (the period of Tamuz) is the “holiday” of the eyes. It is the time that one must “guard” his eyes to see only that which is good (in the world in general and in his fellow man in particular) and modest. The ability to guard and focus one’s eyesight correctly is the rectified “sense” of sight.

At the end of Moses’ blessing Israel he said (Deuteronomy 33:28): “betach badad ein Yaacov–sure, alone, is the eye of Jacob.” The word betach, “sure,” is an acronym for three words: bracha tov chayim, blessing good and life. These are the three focus-points of rectified eyesight, as is said (Deuteronomy 11:26): “See, I give before you today blessing and curse. The blessing…,” and subsequently (Deuteronomy 30:15-19): “See, I have given before you today life and good, and death and evil…and you shall chose life.” In relation to these three one must train one’s eyes (both spiritual and physical) to see only the inner positive dimension of reality and not to focus upon reality’s outer, negative “shell.”

This is the meaning of “sure, alone, is the eye of Jacob.” The sense of the Jewish eye (“the eye of Jacob”) is to only (“alone”) see that which is “sure”–G-d’s blessing, good and life.

Controller: Right Hand

The right hand, in general, and its index finger, in particular, serves to direct and focus one’s eyesight.

When reading the Torah scroll, it is a custom to point at every word with a silver “finger.” It is also a custom to use the right hand to make signs to indicate the cantillation nuances for the reader of the Torah.

The wedding ring is placed by the groom on the index finger of the bride’s right hand. This elevates the couple to the level of “my dove” (Song of Songs 5:2), the intense expression of love transmitted by the never ceasing gaze of the eyes one to the other (turning the eyes as red as a ruby)–”your eyes are as doves,” (Song of Songs 5:12)


This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Why Be Jewish?

My Journey from Christianity to Judaism

The Torah quotes Balaam as saying, הֶן־עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב׃   ” It (Israel) is a nation that dwells in solitude and is not to be reckoned among the nations. ” Israel is a nation alone that does not intermingle with other nations.

Why is it necessary that we be a nation alone and why have we, throughout our history, always been the outsider and the foreigner?

 The role of Klal  Israel

the Jewish perspective regarding other nations/ religions is unique. We do not believe that other nations who do not follow our religion have no purpose in the general scheme of creation. Most of the religions believe that those who do not share their beliefs are denied salvation and may be considered infidels whose lives have little or no value, souls that are doomed or, at best, souls that can never achieve eternity.  We do not share this attitude.  We believe that all of mankind, Jews and non-Jews, were created b’tzelem Elokim- in the image of God- and deserve respect. We are forbidden to steal from non-Jews, to cheat him, or to mislead him in any way, even if our action cause him no loss or harm. Chazal teach us that non-Jews could have a share in the Olam Haba if they adhere to the 7 Noahide laws.  However, we also believe that Klal Yisrael  is the Am HaNivchar-the Chosen People- and, as such, we must understand the unique role of Klal Yisrael.

We were chosen to have a special relationship with Hashem and to serve him in a very  specific  and unique manner. However, this does not preclude the significance of non-Jews. There is an interrelationship between Jews and non-Jews. The purpose of Klal Yisrael is not merely self-centered on his own avodat Hashem, either as individuals or as a nation. We have a responsibility to other nations as well. The Navi says:  in Isaiah 49 verse 6, וּנְתַתִּיךָ לְאוֹר גּוֹיִם לִהְיוֹת יְשׁוּעָתִי עַד־קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ׃ – “I will make you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may extend to the ends of the earth.”

  This is the meaning of the verse “וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ־לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ ” – “You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The relationship between Jews and other nations is comparable to the relationship between the Kohanim (Priests) and other Jews. Kohanim Were given task that are different from those of other Jews and Kohanim were sanctified because their role in the service of Hashem is unique.

This website is dedicated to that role.  To work in harmony Jew and non-Jew together to make this world in the image of Hashem.


Meditation from the Psalms Psalms ‎9‎ 2:1-8


Meditation from the Psalms Psalms ‎9‎ 2:1-8
By: H.Em. Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

The Pesikta notes41 that the initial letters of the first four Hebrew words of our psalm form ,למשהby Moses, for this is the third of the eleven psalms which he composed.

Moses dedicated this psalm, the third in the series of eleven, to the tribe of Judah. Judah had been named by his mother, Leah, for she said,42 “This time let me gratefully thank HaShem”.43

It is both unreasonable and unwise to pass judgment on a work of art before it has been completed; even a masterpiece may look like a grotesque mass of strokes and colors, prior to its completion. Human history is G-d’s masterpiece. Physical creation was completed at the end of the sixth day, but the spiritual development of mankind will continue until this world ends, at the close of the sixth millennium. Thus it is both unfair and impossible to judge G-d’s equity before the denouement of human history, despite the fact that history appears to be a long series of tragic injustices.

On the seventh day of the first week of creation, on the Shabbat,44 Adam surveyed G-d’s completed work and he was stirred to sing of the marvelous perfection which his eyes beheld.

Similarly, when the panorama of human history is completed, the seventh millennium will be ushered in as the day of everlasting Shabbat. At that time all of Adam’s descendants will look back and admire G-d’s completed masterpiece.

This psalm speaks of man’s bewilderment as he observes the inequity which is apparent in this world. It also tells of the joy he will experience when the inequities are resolved.

Therefore, the Talmud45 prescribes this as the Song of the Day46 for the Shabbat, both in the song of the Levites in

41In Pesiḳta Rabbati number .46
42Beresheet (Genesis) 29:35
43See Midrash Shocher Tov and Radak to 91:1
44Shabbat is the English transliteration of the Hebrew word normally translated as ‘Sabbath’. 45Rosh Hashanah 31a
46Day is our verbal tally with the Torah portion: Day – ,יוםStrong’s number .03117

BS”D (B’Siyata D’Shamaya)‎ Aramaic: With the help of Heaven the Holy Temple and in the universal Shabbat liturgy.47

This psalm speaks of the significance of Shabbat, because of this, I would like to expound a bit on some interesting perspectives surrounding Shabbat. This psalm is also dedicated to the future world, which is described as שבתיום -שכולוYom SheKulo Shabbat, the day which is completely Shabbat, for ordinary weekdays will not exist in that totally sacred world.

48 When is the Shabbat?

The Shabbat is the anniversary of the seventh day of creation.

OK, but when is the Shabbat? The Shabbat can be found on most calendars by noting the seventh day of any week. Usually is the far right column on the calendar. Additionally, you can ask any religious Jew and he will know because his ancestors spent forty years in the desert, in the days of Moshe, collecting manna on every day except the Shabbat when there was no manna to collect.

Shabbat is the seventh day of the week.49 This is no accident. Shabbat connects the six days of the week. All of the other days revolve around it. It serves as the center for the three days before it and the three days after it. Even though the seventh appears to be the final element in a linear progression, it is actually the core around which everything else revolves. Shabbat is a taste of Shamayim, the next world, because on Shabbat you connect with your labors of the other six days. We do not go anywhere or do anything on Shabbat.50 This is a taste of what it means to be there,51 to be in Shamayim.52

When the Torah wishes to give a name to the first day of the week, it gives it a name that describes it’s relationship to Shabbat, “the first day of Shabbat”, “the second day of Shabbat”, etc. And so it goes for the other six days. The sixth day is called “Erev Shabbat”, the eve of the Sabbath. Thus Shabbat connects the six days of the week. The following chart illustrates how the days revolve around Shabbat.

When we are called “the nation that sanctifies the Seventh”, we can understand this to refer to the Jewish people sanctifying that which is at the core, the Shabbat. Shabbat (as well as other “time-sevens” such as the Sabbatical year of Shmita) are about resting and relying on HaShem. This hints to us that the core is about reliance on

47These opening remarks are excerpted, and edited, from: The ArtScroll Tanach Series, Tehillim, A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources. Commentary by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer, Translation by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer in collaboration with Rabbi Nosson Scherman.
48In Beresheet (Genesis) ,2:2the Torah calls Shabbat The Seventh day.

49The Sages teach us that what Shabbat, Sabbath, is to time, so Eretz Israel, the land of Israel, is to space. The Shmita, or Sabbatical, year connects these two. Space and time come together in a Shmita year.
50In this world we still have a taste of the Olam HaBa through their honoring and guarding of Shabbat. We use our labor of the six days to connect to the Shabbat. They picture the six thousand years of labor followed by the Messianic age when all will be Shabbat. This seventh millennium is itself a prelude to the Olam HaBa. In this seventh millennium, we will still have going and doing. Never the less, in the messianic age we will be connecting with Shabbat through all of our actions.

51The climax of the act of marital intimacy brings with it a sharp sense of arrival, of being there. This is the sensation we get when we arrive in the next world, of which Shabbat is just a bare taste, as we shall soon see.
52Shamayim, heaven, is a euphemism for the next world because HaShem will dwell with us in that place, where now He dwells in shamayim.

The Shabbat begins Friday at sundown and ends at sundown on Saturday. The Shabbat is therefore NOT the same as Saturday, which begins and ends at midnight.

Tuesday 3rd day

Monday 2nd day

Sunday 1st day

Shabbat 7th day

Friday 6th day

Thursday 5th day

Wednesday 4th day


BS”D (B’Siyata D’Shamaya)‎ Aramaic: With the help of Heaven

HaShem, but that the other six, be they days of the week, the six years prior to Shmita, etc. are about a struggle that stays centered on the core. [Working the six days of the week with an eye toward Shabbat in a way that is holy and spiritual even though it is “ordinary”; working the fields in compliance with Torah, leaving the gleanings, the corners, etc. for six years with the central realization that HaShem is the ultimate Provider not only during the Shmita year, but all of the other years as well]. Zayin, the Hebrew letter with a gematria of seven (7), seems to speak to us about the tension and paradox between struggle and letting go, finding balance between our effort, active trust in HaShem, and our passive trust in HaShem to provide our needs.

The Sages teach us that there are five things that we should strive to accomplish on Shabbat:

Shabbat is the day of connection, as seven is always associated with connection. Consider that every physical object has seven parts. Six sides: front, back, top, bottom, left and right, and a seventh which is the center that connects the six disparate sides.

The Torah commands us to keep the Shabbat holy.53 How do we keep the Shabbat Holy?
If you look throughout the entire Bible you will never find the place where HaShem defines how we are to keep the

Shabbat holy.54 So, how do we keep the Shabbat holy?
Our Sages have told us that the way to keep Shabbat holy is to light two candles55 just before Shabbat begins, make

5657 58
Kiddush on a cup of wine after Shabbat starts, have a cup of havdalah wine just before the end of Shabbat, and

finally we are to kindle the Havdalah candle right after Shabbat ends. This is how we are to sanctify59 the Shabbat and set it apart from the six work days.

The following graphic illustrates these actions:

53 Shemot (Exodus) 20:8 Remember the Shabbat day, to keep it holy.
54 The answer to this question is found in the oral Torah.
55 The most common custom is to light at least two candles, corresponding to the two forms of the fourth commandment: to remember (zachor: Shemot (Exodus) 20:8) and to observe (shamor: Devarim (Deuteronomy) 5:12) the Shabbat day to keep it holy. There are other customs, for example one candle for each of our children.
56 The Friday night Kiddush is where we declare that the purpose of Shabbat is “to remember creation and to remember the Exodus.” Because while HaShem created the entire world, it was through the Exodus from Egypt that mankind came to appreciate HaShem as the guiding hand of history.
57 Wine is related to daat, knowledge. Both maintain excellence only in humble containers. Both get better with age. Wine, and associated products, is the only substance on earth that gets better with age. Wine, and the sod, the secret level of Torah, both have the same gematria, which is why the Sages teach that when “wine goes in the secret comes out”. We, therefore take wine, as Jews, when ever we want to elevate ourselves to a higher level.
58 Jews take wine at every time they are ascending from one level, in this world, to a higher level. We drink wine on occasions that mark distinction (circumcision), growth (marriage), elevation (Shabbat) and enlightenment (Purim, Passover). “Wine is a primary expression of sanctity, kedushah, since they ordain a blessing over wine, Kiddush, as the proper way to inaugurate each Shabbat and festiva l day.
59 Keep it holy.

Shabbat Activity

Each of these seven is used for


Eat the best food of the week.

Food connects the soul to the body.

Engage in marital relations.

Marital intimacy connects two physical bodies.


Rest allows us to connect with the six days of work.


Prayer allows us to connect with HaShem.

Study Torah.

Torah study allows us to connect with a transcendent world


images (2) Shabbat Candles 26179_sterling_silver_kiddush_cup_with_hebrew_alphabet_and_swirls_view_1kiddish cup with wine jr020_havdalah_candle___holder

Since kindling a fire is forbidden on the Shabbat, we kindle the Shabbat candles before Shabbat begins. For the same reason, we kindle the havdalah candle after the end of the Shabbat. Between these two kindlings, we take Kiddush wine60 at the beginning of the Shabbat and again we take havdalah wine61 just before the end of the Shabbat.

The candles lit on Erev Shabbat62 are lit during the day, eighteen minutes prior to sundown. The havdalah candle is lit during the night, forty-two minutes after sundown. On the fourth day G-d created the sun, moon, and stars. The sun governs the day (Erev Shabbat candle); the moon governs the night (the havdalah candle). The fourth command (corresponding to the fourth day), of the ten commands, is to sanctify the seventh day which we do by lighting the Erev Shabbat candles and the havdalah candle.

The seventh millennium, when all will be Shabbat, is ushered in with the Erev Shabbat candles which are lit eighteen minutes prior to sundown, even as HaShem will have a period of time, known as the time of Jacob’s trouble, when HaShem will bring fire on His enemies, just before the beginning of the Shabbat millennium. In a corresponding manner, HaShem will destroy His enemies and renew the earth after the Shabbat millennium, even as we light the havdalah candle, forty-two minutes after sundown, after the Shabbat.

An interesting thought: On the Kiddush of the festivals, we say the following:

Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:2-3Speak to the Children of Israel, and tell them these are the Festivals that they shall keep holy. For six days, work may be performed, but on the seventh day, it is a complete rest day, a holy occasion; you shall not perform any work. It is a Shabbat to the Lord in all your dwelling places.

Why is Shabbat inserted into the middle of the Festivals?
The Vilna Gaon explains that on all the festivals certain types of food related activity are permitted, whereas on

Shabbat all melachot63 are forbidden. However on one Yom Tov no melacha is permitted –Yom Kippurim64 –

60The Maharal developed a numerical approach in his study of the entire Written and Oral Law. He noted that numbers contain special significance. A numerical connection between two Hebrew words is not simply a random connection; it illustrates a deep concep tual bond. In the Maharal’s system, multiples of ten do not change the character of the number; therefore we can relate to seventy as a large seven. But, before we understand the number seven, let’s talk about the number six. In the three-dimensional physical world, everything has six sides, as in the sides of a cube; the number six relates to the six sides of the physical existence in which we live. Seven, however, is the point at the center of the cube; it is the hidden place where everything in the physical world has its spiritual source. It is the point that represents unity and the inner essence of all existence. Now we can understand the Maharal’s statement that wine comes from the place of concealment. The numerical value of the word for wine (yayin – )ייןpoints us to the hidden, inner essence of Creation. It also illustrates our appointed task in the world: bringing the seven, the elusive ideal, into the six, the physical nature of existence. This is a reason why wine is present for almost every significant Jewish lifecycle event, as well at every Shabbat and festival. At these central moments, wine sits at the center of our table and reminds us all about our hidden, infinite potential.

61Drinking wine has other deep meanings as well. Why is it that we always start a spiritual holiday with Kiddush over wine? Well a Holiday such as Shabbat is a mix of physical and spiritual entities. The point of holidays is to lift our physical activities to the level of the spiritual. A persons spiritual level gets better with time (if he/she works on his/herself), however all physical things get worse with time. The only exception is wine. Wine is a physical entity which gets better with time thus symbolizing the mixture of the physical and spiritual.

62Friday afternoon just before Shabbat starts (erev Shabbat means the eve of the Sabbath). 63Creative labors, the labors of a king.

BS”D (B’Siyata D’Shamaya)‎ Aramaic: With the help of Heaven

which is also known as ָבתֹון ַש ַבת ַש –Shabbat Shabbaton, the same terminology that the Torah uses for a regular Shabbat. Thus the pasuk can be rendered:

On six days melacha is permitted –the first and last days of Pesach ,)2(one day of Shavuot ,)3(one day of Rosh HaShana ,)4(one day of Succoth ,)5(one day of Shemini Atzeret .)6(However the seventh is the holy of holiest, no melacha is permitted, not even cooking, this is Yom Kippurim!65

What ‘work’ is forbidden on the Shabbat?

Most Americans see the word “work” and think of it in the English sense of the word: physical labor and effort, or employment. Under this definition, turning on a light would be permitted, because it does not require effort, but a Hakham, a Rabbi, would not be permitted to lead Shabbat services, because leading services is his employment. Jewish law prohibits the former and permits the latter. Many Americans therefore conclude that Jewish law doesn’t make any sense.

The problem lies not in Jewish law, but in the definition that Americans are using. The Torah does not prohibit “work” in the 20th century English sense of the word. The Torah prohibits “melacha” ָכה( ָלא ְמ ,)which is usually translated as “work,” but does not mean precisely the same thing as the English word. Before you can begin to understand the Shabbat restrictions, you must understand the word “melacha”.

Melacha generally refers to the kind of work that is creative, or that exercises control or dominion over your environment. The word may be related to “Melech” (king; .)מלךAvodah (permitted labor) comes from the root eved -slave. The quintessential example of melacha is the work of creating the universe, which G-d ceased from on the seventh day. Note that G-d’s work did not require a great physical effort: he spoke, and it was done.

The word melacha is rarely used in scripture outside of the context of Shabbat and holiday restrictions. The only other repeated use of the word is in the discussion of the building of the sanctuary and its vessels in the wilderness, in Shemot (Exodus) Chapters ,31 .35-38Notably, the Shabbat restrictions are reiterated during this discussion,66 thus we can infer that the work of creating the sanctuary had to be stopped for Shabbat. From this, our Hakhamim, our Rabbis, concluded that the work prohibited on Shabbat is the same as the work of creating the sanctuary. They found 39categories of forbidden acts, all of which are types of work that were needed to build the sanctuary. These are the labors defined as melacha:67

Sowing, Plowing, Reaping, Binding sheaves, Threshing, Winnowing, Selecting, Grinding, Sifting, Kneading, Baking, Shearing wool, Washing wool, Beating wool, Dyeing wool, Spinning, Weaving, Making two loops, Weaving two threads, Separating two threads, Tying, Untying, Sewing two stitches, Tearing, Trapping, Slaughtering, Flaying, Salting meat, Curing hide, Scraping hide, Cutting hide up, Writing two letters, Erasing two letters, Building, Tearing a building down, Extinguishing a fire, Kindling a fire, Hitting with a hammer, Taking an object from the private domain to the public, or transporting an object in the public domain.

Abstaining from melacha on Shabbat is a loyalty test from The King. It is the yardstick of a covenant. That is why the penalty for intentionally breaking the Shabbat -is death!

Carrying the weight of water is burdensome. But, if you scuba dive and immerse yourself in the water, and then bearing the weight of the water becomes a pleasure. Even so, one immersed in Torah and Shabbat will never find

64The Day of Atonement.
65The weekly Shabbat and each of the festivals, in Vayikra chapter ,23are described as containing festival Shabbats. These festival Shabbats have the same actions and prohibitions as the weekly Shabbat. The only difference between the weekly Shabbat and the festival Shabbats is that we are allowed to cook on the festivals, if the fire is lit before the festival.
66Shemot (Exodus) .31:13
67First of all, the Mishkan itself is a micro-world. Each and every detail, along with the 39types of labor necessary for its construction, model the seven days of creation. As an aside, it now makes sense why the Torah forbids us to do those very same thirty-nine (forty less one) types of labor on Shabbat. Just as HaShem completed His activities of creation on the 7th day, so too we must stop our acts of labor on the 7th day. We are emulating the Creator!

BS”D (B’Siyata D’Shamaya)‎ Aramaic: With the help of Heaven

it’s commands to be burdensome. HaShem says that the Shabbat is a precious gift stored away in His treasury for the Jewish people.

A Taste of the Olam HaBa: Shabbat is the culmination, the end-point, of all of our labors. It is a taste of the next world.68 There is an idea that all spiritual realities have at least one tangible counterpart in the physical world so that we can experience them. Shabbat is one sixtieth of the pleasure of the Olam HaBa.69

“It is good to thank G-d” –you better believe it! As Adam and mankind have learned the hard way:

Because Adam blamed Chava for breaking the command not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; and in the process, denied the good that HaShem had done for him, the decree of expulsion resulted. Expulsion from Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden, was the first ever exile of mankind, and the “root” of all exiles and oppressions to follow, especially for the Jewish people. Therefore showing HaShem gratitude is a crucial key to ending this exile.

This is why Shabbat is likened to one-sixtieth of the Olam HaBa,70 a time when we shall be able to fully appreciate HaShem’s gift of life to us. On Shabbat, by abstaining from certain “creative activities”, we are compelled to sit back and look at all that HaShem does to keep us going, and if we don’t do that, then we deny both the opportunity of Shabbat and HaShem’s good, just as Adam did.

Hence, the Sages are telling us that, as much as Shabbat is like the Olam HaBa (and it is), still, the experience is so minimal that it is as if it is not there at all? In other words, even if Shabbat is the most wonderful experience, still the Olam HaBa will become infinitely better. Shabbat is, therefore, a taste of the Olam HaBa.

It would be too difficult to relate to these abstract, spiritual things, if we could never have any direct experience of it. So, sleep is a sixtieth of the death experience; a dream is a sixtieth of prophecy. Shabbat is a sixtieth of the experience of the next world. We have these experiences in order that we should understand those things that HaShem has promised.

Why specifically a sixtieth? What is unique about the proportion of one in sixty? One who has sensitive ear will hear something very beautiful here. One in sixty is that proportion which is on the borderline of perception: in the laws of kashrut (permitted and forbidden foods) there is a general rule that forbidden mixtures of foods are in fact forbidden only if the admixture of the prohibited component comprises more than one part in sixty. If a drop of milk accidentally spills into a meat dish that dish would not be forbidden if less than one part in sixty were milk, the milk cannot be tasted in such dilution. The halachic borderline is set at that point where taste can be discerned. The beautiful hint here is that Shabbat is one sixtieth of the intensity of Olam HaBa, it is on the borderline of taste: if one lives Shabbat correctly, one tastes the next world. If not, one will not taste it at all.

Shabbat is a sign: Shabbat was given as a “sign71 of the covenant” to the Jews,72 the ones who accepted the covenant. Shabbat is a sign,73 which is, according to Exodus ,31symbolic of the eternal bond between HaShem and the Jewish people.

68Shabbat is described as “meeyn olam haba” -a small degree of the experience of the next world.
69Shabbat 57b
70The Coming World.
71The Hebrew word for sign, ot – ,אותgives us significant insight into HaShem’s plans. Ot – ,אותHas a vav between an alef and a tav. The vav )ו(is the Hebrew letter that is often used for the prefix ‘and’. It is the letter of connection. The alef )א(is the first letter of the Hebrew alefbet. The tav )ת(is the last letter of the Hebrew alefbet. Thus the Hebrew word ‘ot – ,’אותsign, carries the connotaion of something that connect the beginning and the end.

72At Mt. Sinai, the Torah says that not only Jews were there, but a large mixed multitude of other people. Both groups accepted the covenant. In the process, all those Gentiles became Jews. At Sinai, Jews and Gentiles became Jews, they all became converts. That is why the rules for converts today correspond exactly to the requirements to stand at the foot of Mt. Sinai, in the Days of Moses.
73A man always needs a sign of his bond with HaShem. Shabbat itself is such a sign, but on the weekdays, this sign is tefillin.

BS”D (B’Siyata D’Shamaya)‎ Aramaic: With the help of Heaven

The Shabbat was made for all men to enjoy, when they entered the Mosaic covenant. Gentiles, and Jews, had to enter the covenant before they could enjoy the Shabbat. The Shabbat was part of the marriage contract between HaShem and Israel and a token and sign of that covenant:

Shemot (Exodus) 31:12-17And HaShem spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Shabbats ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] HaShem that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Shabbat therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the Shabbat of rest, holy to HaShem: whosoever doeth [any] work in the Shabbat day, he shall surely be put to death.

for [in] six days HaShem made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

This covenant, which lasts forever, is called, in Hebrew, ָלם עֹו ִרית ְב –an eternal covenant. Here we see Shabbat

identified as a brit olam, a covenant for all time, a term used with respect to circumcision in Genesis 17:7;74here Israel is told Shabbat is ot hee le’olam, a sign for all times, parallel to the ot brit of Genesis .17:11These are the only two commandments whose importance is emphasized by this sort of language.

The contract was not made with men before Moses. It was made with Israel in the days of Moses:

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 5:1-3And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. HaShem our G-d made a covenant with us in Horeb. HaShem made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, [even] us, who [are] all of us here alive this day.

The Shabbat only applied to the Jew, the ger tzaddik, and the ger toshav who was ready to convert.75 It did not apply to all people. Some may quote Hakham Shaul:

Colossians 2:16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Shabbat [days]: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Mashiach.

Hakham Shaul is not abrogating the Torah! He is not changing what HaShem did with the Israelites. He does not have the authority, or the desire, to change this. Therefore we must conclude that the ones keeping the Shabbat are either Jews or proselytes (ger toshav).76 Hakham Shaul may also have been referring to the festival Shabbats which the Gentiles may keep, except for Shemini Atzeret. Remember that the natural progression would have the Gentiles become ger toshav; the ger toshav would then convert and become a ger tzaddik.

Some may also claim that His Majesty King Yeshua changed this by saying:

Marqos (Mark) 2:27And he said unto them, The Shabbat was made for man, and not man for the Shabbat:
We must conclude that Mashiach’s audiences were Jews and that this was not meant to apply to those who were not

a part of the covenant. Again Yeshua had neither the authority, nor the desire, to change HaShem’s covenant.

There is an important concept here, which we learn from this world. I don’t enjoy the wages and perks of a another man’s wife, because I did not sign the marriage contract and because I did not do the work. The Shabbat was a

74Thus we see that circumcision and Shabbat are connected.
75A Ger toshav (lit. resident) is a Gentile who keeps the seven laws of Noah. A ger tzaddik is the name for a Gentile after he has entered the covenant and becomes a Jew.
76II Luqas (Acts) chapter 15strongly implies this.

Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Shabbat, to observe the Shabbat throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant. It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever:

BS”D (B’Siyata D’Shamaya)‎ Aramaic: With the help of Heaven

“sign” for those who “signed” the covenant, and kept its provision. It was the reward, like marital intimacy, for those folks alone, much as a husband will not tolerate an interloper. All covenants, or contracts, are like this: Those who sign, and keep the provisions, enjoy the rewards. Those who don’t sign, or don’t keep the provisions, do not share in the reward.

While Jews and ger toshav will be part of the Olam HaBa, they both have different roles and functions. This does not have anything to do with enjoying the Shabbat.

So, far from being a discouragement, the Shabbat is meant to entice the Gentile to “sign” the covenant (immerse in the mikveh, brit Milah,77 and agree, before a Bet Din, to keep the covenant). It is a reward for the man who loves HaShem and is willing to do what it takes. It is NOT for any Tom, Dick, or Harry who decides he wants it. That is outright adultery,78 and theft, and it negates the covenant.

Since circumcision and Shabbat represent special signs between HaShem and Israel, they do not apply to other nations. “A gentile who observed Shabbat deserves death”,79 and a non-Jew whose foreskin is removed, is still considered halachically uncircumcised: “All gentiles are uncircumcised”.80

Sanhedrin 58b Resh Lakish also said: A heathen who keeps a day of rest, deserves death, for it is written, And a day and a night they shall not rest,81 and a master has said: Their prohibition is their death sentence.82 Rabina said: Even if he rested on a Monday. Now why is this not included in the seven Noachian laws? — Only negative injunctions are enumerated, not positive ones.83

The Maharsha explains84 that the Shabbat is, metaphorically, a bride.85 Indeed, the Talmud refers86 to the Shabbat as a bride and the Shabbat is greeted in the same way that a bride is greeted This imagery was immortalized by

Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz87 in his classical liturgical song, Lecha Dodi, which is sung just before the reception of the

Shabbat. Rabbi Avraham Sperling writes,88 based on this allegorical comparison, that Shabbat is the female companion to the Israelite nation. The Jewish Nation is married to Shabbat. Therefore, when a non-Jew follows the rules of Shabbat, it is as if he is committing adultery with the married bride Shabbat, and so he is liable for the death penalty. However, before the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, Shabbat did not yet have any marital connection to the Jewish Nation, and therefore, the patriarchs of the Jewish Nation, even if they had the halachic status of Noachides, were allowed to observe the laws of Shabbat in its entirety.

77 Circumcision
78 This is why the Tanach often equates idolatry with adultery.
79 Sanhedrin 58b
80 Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 9:25
81 Beresheet (Genesis) 8:22. ‘They’ is here made to apply to men, and ‘shall not’ is taken to mean ‘may not’.
82 Eisenstein, J. E., V. p. 623, suggests that this may have been directed against the Christian Jews, who disregarded the Mosaic law yet observed the Sabbath, and quotes Maimonides who advances the following reason: ‘The principle is, one is not permitted to make innovations in religion or to create new commandments. He has the privilege to become a true proselyte by accepting the whole law.’ (Yad. Melakim, X, 9.) He also points out that ‘Deserves death’ expresses strong indignation, and is not to be taken literally; [cf. the recurring phrase. ‘He who transgresses the words of the Sages deserves death.’ Ber. 6b.]
83 The seven Noachide laws deal with things which a heathen must abstain from doing. But when we say that a heathen must not observe a day of rest, we bid him to do a positive action, viz., work.
84 To Sanhedrin 58b
85 The Gemara states that there are twenty-four instances in Scripture where the Priests are referred to as Levites. Reb Tzadok HaKohen from Lublin writes that the concept of Shabbat is mentioned twelve times in the Torah, and we know that everything on Shabbat is double, so essentially Shabbat is represented by the number twenty-four. This idea is also reflected in the fact that a bride adorns herself with twenty- four ornaments, and the Shabbat is referred to as the bride. In a similar vein we can suggest that the Zohar states that a Torah scholar is akin to Shabbat, and the Priests and Levites were the quintessential Torah scholars amongst the Jewish People, so it is appropriat e that the Priests are referred to as Levites twenty-four times in Scripture.
86 Bava Kama 32a
87 A 16th century poet and Kabbalist from Tzfat.
88 Ta’amei HaMinhagim, pg. 502 (Eshkol Ed.)

BS”D (B’Siyata D’Shamaya)‎ Aramaic: With the help of Heaven

Maimonides writes89 that the prohibition of a gentile observing Shabbat is a part of the general prohibition for gentiles not to innovate novel laws.90 Rabbi David Ibn Zimra91 explains92 that according to Maimonides gentiles are not allowed to keep the Sabbath as if they were commanded to do so, rather they are only allowed to observe it as means of acquiring merits, but not as a means of fulfilling a commandment because they have no such commandment. In light of this, Rabbi Moshe Sofer93 explains the words of an enigmatic Talmudic passage,94 which states that if a non-Jew rests on Shabbat, he has fulfilled the commandment of resting. A non-Jew is only not allowed to rest when doing so as part of a “religious service”, however, a non-Jew can rest and get the reward for fulfilling the commandment of Shabbat in doing so. This is true if the gentile personally accepts upon himself not to worship idols. Keeping Shabbat and abstaining from idols are really the same because Shabbat is testimony95 to the fact that HaShem created the world, while idolatry denies this truism. Therefore, a gentile who specially avowed not to worship idols (ger toshav) is also obligated to keep Shabbat and thereby has no prohibition of resting.96 Perhaps the patriarchs of the Jewish nation before the Sinaitic Revelation had the status of such Noachides, and were thus able to observe properly the Shabbat.

Finally, it is worth noting that the beginning of our psalm, the first eight pesukim, speaks of the primary duties of Aaron and his sons, the Priests, along with the Levites, in the Temple – on the Shabbat. This concords well with the Torah’s mention of HaShem’s selection of the priests and the Levites to minister before Him. Their secondary duty was to teach the Bne Israel the Torah. Through this teaching, the Priests and the Levites were to enable the Bne Israel to distance themselves from idolatry, which is the theme of our Ashlamata.

Now since Moses was in charge of conveying HaShem’s word to the Priests and the Levites, it is fitting that he should author our psalm for the Shabbat day.





Like the perfect bride, the land of Israel is my love, and Israel is what the eye of every Jew longs for, especially, if she has went away from their sight. As one who has been taken away from her. How, our mind sees her, so beautiful, so fare, and untouchable for those separated from her because of history’s past.

Our father’s sinned and we, their children, were cast to the nation, with no choice of our own, like a name that was given without any thought. We have been separated from her, our land and we have grown like a stranger with no memory of her and no way to prove our inheritance to her. We look and see our face in her and all our characteristic give away our Father and the place of our birth, but they say, “you do not belong to her”.

Tell a child who hears his mother’s voice or sees his father’s hands and the way of his heart, that you are not their child. Tell them that they do not hear the words from the Ancient One, spoken from the smallest of mountains as He promised we would, Deu 29:14 “And not with you alone I am making this covenant and this oath, Deu 29:15 but with him who stands here with us today before יהוה our Elohim, as well as with him who is not here with us today.
Deu 29:16 “For you know how we dwelt in the land of Mitsrayim and how we passed through the nations which you passed through”.

We have passed through the lands that are not ours and when we hear the sound of our mother’s voice and see her awaiting her children from afar, we cry with her and long for her touch. I hear and I know that the day will be soon, that I will be with her and my brethren in the land of promise, for Hashem is faithful to His children for a thousand generations and He can not lie, for He is not a man that He would lie.

A woman of valor has he made our heritage and she can not forget her children for they are engraved on the palm of her hand. For my ear have you digged and thy will Hashem do I seek with all my heart, for my soul longs for you and with complete faith will I wait for His coming, for with complete faith do I believe in the coming of Messiah and all His beauty that He will shine upon His people Israel, the woman of valor have I found. Adon Gabriel ben Abraham.