Experiencing a Sabbath in Israel, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem by the Western Wall, allows us to climb spiritual heights that cannot be described in words.
This week’s Torah portion is known as Ki Tisa and is from the Book of Exodus (30:11-34:35). In verse 31:13, God commands Moses to tell the Children of Israel to “observe my Sabbaths.” Why do they need another reminder? The Ten Commandments were already given.
Earlier in the Book of Exodus (starting in Chapter 25), the Jews were commanded to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness (the forerunner of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem) and needed a timely reminder that although they were very eager to undertake this Divinely ordained construction, they could not violate the Sabbath and had to cease from work.
In fact, all of the categories of work that Jews are forbidden to do on the Sabbath, derive from the very type of work that was done in constructing the Holy Tabernacle. For example, “writing letters” is forbidden since that was required to identify different elements of the construction materials.
A deeper message here is that Sabbath observance may not be transgressed for other “spiritual matters” – not even to build the holy House of God! Only to save another life may one violate the Sabbath.
Throughout the Torah, we find many connections between the Holy Temple and the Holy Sabbath. The Temple was the holiest place on earth – the House of God. And the Sabbath is the holiest time of the week. Our lives are so busy, and sometimes we forget how special our world is! We need reminders – both in time and space – that the Creator made such a beautiful, holy world for us to enjoy.
Experiencing a Sabbath in Israel, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem by the Western Wall, allows us to climb spiritual heights that cannot be described in words. The onset of the Sabbath (Friday night) at the Kotel (Western Wall) is a spiritual experience second to none.
And that’s because it creates a unique spiritual symphony of holiness and beauty. A merging of the holiest place on earth with the holiest time of the week.
Have a restful, enjoyable and spiritual Sabbath. Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem!